Like all NFL teams, the Green Bay Packers must be down to down to their initial 53-man roster by Tuesday afternoon. But making the initial cutdown doesn’t guarantee that a player will still be on the roster for Week 1. The Packers open the season in Chicago against the Bears. Here is a look at three positions that GM Brian Gutekunst could look to add a player via waivers or a trade after the team sets its initial roster.
Position Number 3 the Packers Could Look to Add a Player Not on the Roster: Guard
The Packers will have Elgton Jenkins and Jon Runyan, Jr. starting at guard this season, but depth is an issue. Sean Rhyan had a strong training camp and preseason this year and appears to have taken a second-year jump. He will be the primary backup.
But after that, there are more questions than answers. Royce Newman has 22 career starts but the former Mississippi star has not made much improvement since his rookie year.
Newman committed too many penalties during the preseason and continues to be baffled by stunts and blitzes. He is far too inconsistent to rely on for long. If he hasn’t made a jump after his first two seasons in the league, it looks more like he may not have much more to offer than what he has already shown.
The Packers need more depth in the interior of the offensive line so Gutekunst may search the waiver wire to add another backup guard or center. The fact that the team has more depth at tackle could lead to a trade for a guard or one of the other positions on this list before the season starts.
Position Number 2: Tight End
The Packers have two rookies here including projected starter Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. Thus far, Musgrave looks like he’s picking up the offense quicker than Kraft who may need more time to make significant contributions on offense.
If we count Josiah Deguara as a fullback/H-back, as the official depth chart now does, the only other tight end on the 90-man roster is Austin Allen. The former Nebraska star has yet to take a snap in a regular-season NFL game.
At 6’9”, 255-pounds, Allen has good size, but he saw only limited action in the preseason and made one catch for one yard. He did not make a major impression during training camp.
If Gutekunst could find an upgrade at tight end off the waiver wire, the Packers may be interested in adding him. The preference would be for somebody who is a better blocker than Allen and could contribute more on special teams. That player would assume the role that Tyler Davis was expected to fill before he was lost for the season with an injury.
Position Number 1 the Packers Could Look to Add a Player Not on the Roster: Safety
The Packers biggest concern entering training camp was safety and it remains the largest question mark a month later. None of the candidates on the roster distinguished themselves enough to lay a clear claim to the starting job opposite Darnell Savage.
Right now, it appears Rudy Ford will be starting in Week 1, but Ford has never started more than six games in a season in his first six years in the NFL and is far from an elite safety.
Jonathan Owens played OK against the run and a solid tackler, but he struggles in pass coverage. Tarvarius Moore is injured and failed to distinguish himself on defense in training camp and in preseason games.
Rookie Anthony Johnson, Jr. showed flashes of ability but is not ready to start just yet. Dallin Leavitt is a special teams ace but a liability in coverage. He didn’t even play one snap on defense last year while playing all 17 games for the Packers on special teams.
The Packers could search the waiver wire for a new safety or add one via trade. Their depth at cornerback and offensive tackle could help them obtain a quality starter at safety if one is available via trade.
This is the biggest area the team needs to upgrade before the season starts.
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