GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers had to select their 53-man roster by Friday’s 8 p.m. deadline, parting ways with 18 players who had been on the team just a day earlier for Green Bay’s preseason finale.
Tackle Derek Sherrod, the team’s 2011 first-round draft pick who is still recovering from a broken leg suffered last season, was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, and linebacker Vic So’oto (ankle) was placed on injured reserve.
The list of players Green Bay released was headlined by wide receivers Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel, both of whom were on the practice squad last season and had high hopes of making the team this year. However, both were hit with injuries during training camp and didn’t quite show enough to justify adding them to the already-deep wide receivers group of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, James Jones and Randall Cobb.
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Undrafted rookie Jarrett Boykin seemed to be passing Gurley and Borel late in camp, and it was Boykin who ended up convincing the Packers to retain six receivers. Last season, Borel had an offer to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ active roster but declined. It’s likely he’ll get a similar opportunity now, so Green Bay will not have a very good chance of keeping Borel on the practice squad again. Borel finished the preseason with seven receptions for 48 yards and no touchdowns.
Gurley turned down an active roster spot from the Minnesota Vikings late in the 2011 season, and he, too, will likely be a part of another team this season. Gurley had three catches for 75 yards in the preseason.
For Packers fans, the next-biggest name on the list of cuts may have been quarterback B.J. Coleman, a 2012 seventh-round draft pick who played sparingly in the preseason. It appears the Packers will begin the season with only two quarterbacks – Aaron Rodgers and Graham Harrell – on the active roster and that Coleman will be a candidate for the practice squad.
One surprise cut was defensive lineman Daniel Muir, who had looked solid throughout training camp and preseason. Muir played his rookie season with the Packers in 2007 before spending the past four years with the Indianapolis Colts. He also will likely have an offer to join a different NFL team this season.
The Packers also released running back Marc Tyler and fullback Nic Cooper, though both are prime candidates to be added to the practice squad.
Gurley and Borel weren’t the only receivers let go on Friday, with Dale Moss and Curenski Gilleylen joining them. Moss will likely land on the practice squad.
The second- and third-string offensive line was a problem nearly all of training camp and preseason for the Packers, and on Friday, the team released several of those players. Sampson Genus, a center who was on the practice squad in 2011, was let go. Genus could be back on the practice squad again this season. Tommie Draheim, Shea Allard, Greg Van Roten and veteran Reggie Wells were also released.
Seventh-round pick Andrew Datko was cut, but he will likely stick with the Packers. Datko suffered a concussion late in training camp and has not yet been cleared to return. When healthy, Datko struggled early on but bounced back fairly well later.
Safety Anthony Levine was also released. According to his agent, Howard Shatsky, Levine has drawn interest from “several NFL teams.”
Defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, cornerback Otis Merrill and tight end Brandon Bostick were also released. Given the Packers’ depth at tight end, Bostick will not likely be asked to join the practice squad.
Undrafted rookies besides Boykin who did earn a spot on the active roster include outside linebacker Dezman Moses, safety Sean Richardson and offensive lineman Don Barclay.
General manager Ted Thompson will have more decisions to make soon. Linebacker Erik Walden is suspended for Week 1, but if Thompson wants to keep him in Green Bay, Walden will need to be added to the 53-man roster heading into the second regular season game. Also, after defensive lineman Mike Neal’s four-game suspension is over, the Packers will have to remove another player from the active roster if they want to keep Neal.