While it is only June, it’s never too early to take a look at the 2022 Green Bay Packers roster. Part of that includes the Green Bay Packers practice squad. With the recent rules changes to practice squads, the practice squad has become a big part of game-day rosters. Practice squad members figure mightily into general managers’ game day management. Today, we take a look at the top five candidates to start off on the Green Bay Packers practice squad this season.
Early Top Five Candidates for Green Bay Packers 2022 Practice Squad
General manager Brian Gutekunst will have some difficult decisions to make this season. On defense, the Packers seem pretty set on their starters. Even some of the top backup positions, like on the defensive line and inside linebacker, seem locked up already. However, on offense, especially at wide receiver, roster spots are up for grabs.
With that in mind, spots on the Green Bay Packers practice squad will be precious. Just because a wide receiver lands on the Green Bay Packers practice squad, it doesn’t mean he won’t play a part on game days. That’s because teams can promote a practice squad player for a game. Then return him to the practice squad the following day. The Packers might have six or seven wide receivers on their 53-man roster. But in reality, say they have two on the Green Bay Packers practice squad, they have eight or nine.
Injuries will play a part in the 53-man roster, and also the practice squad. But with how things stand, here are the five top candidates to be added to the Green Bay Packers practice squad to start the season.
Tyler Goodson, Running Back
Recently discussed was the battle for the Packers number three running back spot. In that piece, it was discussed that Patrick Taylor might be the lead candidate to land the spot. If that turns out to be a reality, undrafted free agent signee Tyler Goodson might be in search of a job.
Goodson, if the Packers can get him through waivers, would seem like a perfect candidate for their practice squad. In his last season at the University of Iowa, Goodson was a major piece of the Hawkeyes offense. Some might argue, that with the Hawkeyes horrible play at quarterback, he was their offense.
Goodson is the type of prospect that fits well on a practice squad. Not only was he a productive player at a Power Five school, but he is young and plays a position that will be stressed in the Packers offense.
Malik Taylor, Wide Receiver
There is a very good chance the Packers will carry seven wide receivers on their opening day roster. If that is true, it will consist of Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Amari Rodgers, Juwann Winfree, and Samori Toure. If that happens, Malik Taylor will be the odd man out.
While Taylor was one of the most ineffective returners ever in the NFL, he does have a little upside at wide receiver. Not blessed with top-end speed, Taylor does have good size for a wide receiver (6’1″, 220 pounds). Also, he has experience in the Packers offense, so if another wide receiver gets injured, Taylor could be promoted and understand the offense immediately. While he was an awful returner, he does have the ability to contribute on coverage teams for the Green Bay Packers special teams.
Jonathan Ford, Defensive Line
As discussed earlier, Gutekunst has finally put an emphasis on the Packers defensive line. Not only did the Packers sign Jarran Reed, but they spent a first-round pick in this year’s draft on Devonte Wyatt. Standout defensive tackle Kenny Clark finally has some running mates. No longer will the Packers have to depend on ineffective players like Tyler Lancaster to be a part of their defensive line rotation.
The newfound depth is a pleasant surprise, but for Jonathan Ford, it hurts his roster chances. Ford, selected in the seventh round of this year’s draft, was going to have a hard time making the roster before the upgrades, but now, his chances are at best slim.
The selection of Ford was a surprise, knowing how little he did at the University of Miami. However, as they say, you can’t teach size. At 6’5″ 338 pounds, Ford is the biggest defensive lineman on the Packers roster. Placing him on the Green Bay Packers practice squad will allow him to come along slowly. It will give him time to work with defensive line coach/running game coordinator Jerry Montgomery and not have to worry about playing in games.
Chauncey Manac, Outside Linebacker
Rashan Gary and Preston Smith have the starting outside linebacker positions for the Packers locked down. Battling to be their backups are Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, and rookie Kingsley Enagbare.
Chauncey Manac, an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana, will lose out in the numbers game. However, his production in college should make him a prime candidate for the Green Bay Packers practice squad. In his last season at Louisiana, he posted 10 1/2 sacks. Pass rushers are hard to come by in the NFL. Manac is still raw, but he has shown he can rush the passer.
Cole Van Lanen, Offensive Tackle
Gutekunst and the Packers spent a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft draft on Cole Van Lanen. Van Lanen failed to make the roster, but he did spend all of 2021 on the Green Bay Packers practice squad.
There is an outside chance that Van Lanen makes the 53-man roster this season. David Bakhtiari is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered late in 2020. Elgton Jenkins, who many believe is the long-term answer at right tackle, is recovering from a knee injury he suffered in 2021. With their statuses up in the air, that could give Van Lanen a chance to make the roster.
If he doesn’t, he would be a very good candidate for the Green Bay Packers practice squad. Not only do they have draft capital invested in Van Lanen, but he has the capability of playing both tackle spots as well as guard.
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