The Green Bay Packers have completed two of their three preseasons games in preparation for the 2022 NFL season. There are less than three weeks to go before the season opener in Minnesota, the Packers initial 53-man roster is getting closer to taking shape.
Here is a look at my projected initial 53-man roster for the Packers. Obviously, injuries and very strong or weak performances in the final preseason game against the Chiefs in Kansas City can cause some of these positions to change.
Here is the projected 53-man roster as of Monday, August 22nd:
Quarterback (2) Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love
The top two quarterbacks are a lock as Rodgers returns looking for his third straight NFL MVP award. Love has showed signs of progress in training camp and in the preseason and will be the backup.
Danny Etling will make the practice squad and serve as insurance in case of illness or injury. His athleticism makes him exciting in the preseason but the team will not keep three quarterbacks on the initial roster.
Running Back (3) Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, Patrick Taylor
Jones and Dillon are locks to make the roster and will get the bulk of the carries. The third running back spot is up for grabs with Tyler Goodson looking better than Taylor carrying the football. However, Taylor has been a standout on special teams and is a better pass blocker as well and those are the areas GM Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have indicated will be deciding factors in who gets the third running back spot.
The Packers will try to sneak Goodson on the practice squad and hope nobody claims him. This is a close race that will go down to the wire with a week of practice and one preseason game remaining.
Wide Receiver (7) Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Christian Watson, Amari Rodgers, Romeo Doubs, Juwann Winfree
Traditionally, the Packers keep six wide receivers but the uncertainty surrounding the position and the young talent with potential will force them to keep seven this year. Lazard, Watkins and Cobb are the veterans who will get the bulk of the work early in the season. Watson will make the roster as a second-round pick and hopefully can see some action against the Chiefs if he’s healthy enough to play.
Doubs has opened eyes throughout training camp and the preseason but still has work to do to clean up drops and mistakes. Doubs has great potential and should see a bigger role as the season progresses.
Amari Rodgers has more quickness this year but is still inconsistent and is only going to make the roster because the Packers traded up to pick him in the third round a year ago.
Winfree beats out Samori Toure for the final receiver spot because of his experience and the fact that Aaron Rodgers has repeatedly praised him and he is a more reliable route runner at this stage and the team needs the consistency.
Toure and Danny Davis are likely headed for the practice squad with a third receiver a possibility.
Tight End (4) Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Nate Becker
We still aren’t sure if Tonyan will be ready to play in Week 1 but the Packers will carry him on the roster to start the season regardless. Lewis is the top blocking tight end with Deguara playing more of a fullback/H-back role.
Tyler Davis would be a logical fourth tight end as he has more receiving skills than most of the remaining candidates, but he’s had a horrible preseason and camp and essentially played his way off the team with his turnovers, penalties and mistakes.
Becker has bounced around the league a bit but he’s shown the most potential and made the fewest mistakes of the remaining players fighting for the final tight end spot.
Offensive line (9) David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Royce Newman, Jon Runyan Jr., Jake Hanson, Yosh Nijman, Zach Tom, Sean Rhyan
The return of Bakhtiari and Jenkins from the PUP list solidifies the offensive line in a big way. Bakhtiari probably won’t start the season in the lineup but he’s likely to return sooner rather than later. Nijman and Jenkins will likely start the year at the two tackle spots with Myers and Runyan starting and Tom battling Newman for the right guard position.
Jake Hanson has been inconsistent but will likely become the new Lucas Patrick and back up the center and guard positions while Rhyan makes the roster on his potential despite struggling throughout the preseason.
Cole Van Lanen, Caleb Jones and Rasheed Walker are the likely headed for the practice squad if they aren’t claimed by another team.
Defensive line (5) Kenny Clark, Jarran Reed, Dean Lowry, T.J. Slaton, Devonte Wyatt
The Packers may be tempted to keep six players here but it won’t be easy to find space on the roster. Slaton and Wyatt will be the backups with Clark, Reed and Lowry being the three starters. Wyatt has not showed much thus far in training camp but the potential is there. By the end of the season, he should be contributing more to the rotation.
Chris Slayton and Jack Heflin are the top two candidates if the team keeps six defensive linemen. They will both make the practice squad if they aren’t claimed before the season starts.
Outside Linebacker (5) Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Jonathan Garvin, Kingsley Enagbare, Kobe Jones
Gary and Smith are set as the starters with the battle for backup spots being wide open entering camp. Garvin makes the team for his experience and occasional pass rush push. Enagbare and Jones have been the most productive edge rushers in training camp and in preseason and will earn roster spots as a result.
Tipa Galeai and La’Darius Hamilton may make the practice squad if they don’t make the team.
Inside Linebacker (4) De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Krys Barnes, Isaiah McDuffie
Campbell and Walker will be the starters. Entering training camp, depth was a major concern but McDuffie has made a second-year jump and Barnes remains a smart and reliable player even if he isn’t an elite athlete by NFL standards.
Cornerback (6) Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas, Shemar Jean-Charles, Keisean Nixon, Kiondre Thomas
Alexander, Stokes and Douglas are locks and will be the top three starters. Jean-Charles has taken some steps forward in his second training camp and will make the team. Nixon is primarily a special teams player which will earn him a roster spot.
The final spot will go to Kiondre Thomas who has looked good in preseason in coverage and can also help on special teams.
Rico Gafford and Kabion Ento will provide depth on the practice squad.
Safety (5) Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Vernon Scott, Shawn Davis, Micah Abernathy
Amos and Savage are the starters. Scott was playing well in the preseason before suffering an injury against New Orleans. If he’s healthy enough to make the team, he will be the third safety. Davis and Abernathy have played well in preseason and are favorites to be the backups while also contributing on special teams.
If the Packers opt to keep a sixth defensive lineman, they could only keep four safeties, but special teams contributions likely encourage them to keep five.
Special Teams (3) Mason Crosby, Pat O’Donnell, Jack Coco
Crosby is still on the PUP list but the Packers hope he is ready to start the season. If not, Ramiz Ahmed looked good against the Saints and would likely be the opening day kicker. Ahmed could stick on the practice squad as insurance and as a developmental kicker when Crosby returns.
O’Donnell has been steady and consistent punting and holding. Coco played better against the Saints but there are still questions about his reliability. The Packers could sign a free agent after cuts are made if Coco struggles and they think they can upgrade the position.
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