The Green Bay Packers finalized their 53-man roster for the 2013 season. Here’s a position-by-position analysis of which players made it and who was cut.
Note: Eight players released Saturday will be signed to the eight-man practice squad Sunday.
In: Aaron Rodgers, B.J. Coleman
Cut: Vince Young
Analysis: The backup quarterback position is subject to change. Young was released Saturday, but Coleman isn’t necessarily going to be Rodgers’ top backup. Coleman could still be headed to the practice squad if the Packers find a good option on the waiver wire. But, at least for now, it’s Rodgers and Coleman.
Running Backs (4)
In: Eddie Lacy, John Kuhn, Johnathan Franklin, James Starks
Cut: Alex Green, Jonathan Amosa
IR: DuJuan Harris
Analysis: Releasing Green was a bit of a surprise. Green showed some promise as a kick returner and played ahead of Starks for most of training camp. Amosa could be added to the practice squad on Sunday. With Harris on injured reserve, Lacy will be the featured running back. The question is whether Lacy will be an every-down player or if Starks or Franklin become a part of the rotation. Otherwise, Kuhn might once again be the third-down back.
Wide Receivers (5)
In: Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jarrett Boykin, Jeremy Ross
Cut: Charles Johnson, Tyrone Walker, Myles White
Analysis: Ross made the team over Walker, Johnson and White. All three of those released receivers could be practice-squad candidates. Ross’ ability as a returner helped him, but his performance as a receiver in the preseason finale made him more valuable.
Tight Ends (4)
In: Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor
Cut: Jake Stoneburner, D.J. Williams, Matthew Mulligan
Analysis: Mulligan was a surprise due to his skills as a run blocker. Coach Mike McCarthy’s promise to improve Green Bay’s running game this season would be easier to accomplish with Mulligan on the roster. Williams didn’t show enough improvement over the past two seasons to stick around for a third year. Quarless, even after a severe knee injury in December 2011, is too talented and still young (24) for the Packers to give up on him. Stoneburner would be a nice addition to the practice squad. Bostick’s value was growing across the league, and, instead of dealing him, the Packers elevated him from last year’s practice squad to this year’s active roster.
Offensive Line (8)
In: David Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Josh Sitton, Don Barclay, Marshall Newhouse, Greg Van Roten, Lane Taylor
Cut: Patrick Lewis, Kevin Hughes, Andrew Datko, Garth Gerhart
PUP: Derek Sherrod, JC Tretter
IR: Bryan Bulaga
Analysis: Even with Bulaga on injured reserve, and Sherrod and Tretter on the physically unable to perform list, the Packers still kept eight offensive linemen. If Sherrod and Tretter are cleared after Week 6, it will be interesting to see how Green Bay’s front office responds with the spots that currently belong to Van Roten, Taylor and Newhouse. Lewis would be a good addition to the practice squad.
Defensive Line (7)
In: B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Datone Jones, C.J. Wilson, Mike Daniels, Johnny Jolly, Josh Boyd
Cut: Jordan Miller
PUP: Jerel Worthy
Analysis: Jolly’s comeback is complete. Three years away from football and a six-month prison stay didn’t stop the 30-year-old Jolly from making an impact in training camp and earning his spot on the team. Boyd, a fifth-round pick, might have made the team — at least in part — due to the Packers’ fear that they couldn’t get him through to the practice squad. Seven defensive linemen (plus Mike Neal, see below in the outside linebackers category) is a lot for a team that will often be in nickel packages.
Inside Linebackers (5)
In: A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Robert Francois, Sam Barrington, Jamari Lattimore
Cut: Terrell Manning
Analysis: Manning was likely the last cut to make. Barrington, a seventh-round pick, made Manning somewhat expendable. It’s surprising, though, given that Manning was a fifth-round pick in 2012 and only 23 years old, and was let go. The top three players at the position (Hawk, Jones, Francois) are all veterans.
Outside Linebackers (5)
In: Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Mike Neal, Andy Mulumba, Nate Palmer
Cut: Dezman Moses, Donte Savage
Analysis: Mulumba — an undrafted rookie — and Palmer — a sixth-round pick — both made it over Moses. Based on the results of training camp and preseason, that’s not much of a surprise, as Mulumba and Palmer outperformed Moses. Neal will get the majority of his snaps at outside linebacker, especially now that Green Bay kept seven defensive lineman.
In: Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Davon House, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Jarrett Bush
Cut: Brandon Smith, Loyce Means, James Nixon
Analysis: No surprises here. Bush’s value as a special teams player is still too great to get rid of him. Means and Smith could both be considered for the practice squad. From Nos. 1-5 on the depth chart, this is a very talented group. The possibility that there might not be many snaps for two of these three players (Hayward, House, Hyde) is an indication of how deep this spot on the roster is.
In: Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Chris Banjo
Cut: Chaz Powell, David Fulton
PUP: Sean Richardson
Analysis: Banjo made it, and deservedly so. Signed a few days after training camp had started, Banjo made up for his lack of height (5-foot-10) with consistent work in the secondary. Richardson’s recovery from neck surgery still has his future up in the air.
Special Teams (3)
In: Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Brett Goode
Analysis: The big question with Crosby was answered earlier in the week when the Packers released Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez and followed it up by restructuring Crosby’s contract from a base salary of $2.4 million down to $800,000. It’s still possible that Crosby doesn’t finish the season as Green Bay’s kicker, but at this point it would likely take a repeat performance of his 2012 season (NFL-worst 63.6 percent field-goal accuracy rate) to get released.