10 players firmly on the Packers: outside Linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. RB Patrick Taylor, DL Jonathan Ford, LB Tariq Carpenter, OL Royce Newman, WR Grant DuBose, DB Innis Gaines, CB Corey Ballentine, S Tarvarius Moore, P Daniel Whelan.
In light of the occurrences during training camp, the three preseason games, and Paul Bretl’s ultimate endeavor to compose a 53-man roster, we can now pinpoint the players in a genuine state of uncertainty.
As the roster cutdowns approach on Tuesday, here is a list of Packers players in a precarious position on the roster bubble:
Among the players on the roster bubble, Cox could potentially pose the most challenging decision due to his evident talent in a valuable position. The question arises: Would he be picked up by another team if placed on waivers?
Cox exhibited a disruptive presence throughout all three preseason games. While the Packers already have five favored edge rushers, considering Cox as the sixth on the 53-man roster might be justifiable. The prospect of nurturing his growth over the long term could yield significant benefits down the line.
RB Patrick Taylor
Taylor appears to be the leading contender for the role of the No. 3 running back, yet the question looms: Will the Packers opt for three running backs on the initial 53-man roster? Bringing Taylor up from the practice squad could be a strategic move for the early part of the season.
Emanuel Wilson requires time to refine his blocking and special teams skills on the practice squad, while injuries have affected Lew Nichols and Tyler Goodson. Ultimately, the decision likely hinges on retaining Taylor on the 53-man roster or adhering to a roster composition of just two running backs.
DL Jonathan Ford
Following a year on the 53-man roster in 2022 as a redshirt player, Ford is demonstrating the potential to secure a roster spot and actively participate in games in 2023. However, the issue at hand pertains to numbers. Will the Packers choose to retain six defensive linemen?
Moreover, is there value in including a sixth defensive lineman primarily functioning as a backup nose tackle? It could prove challenging for Ford to secure game-day participation if he secures a spot on the 53-man roster.
LB Tariq Carpenter
Carpenter emerges as a versatile player, albeit without a definitive position, yet capable of exerting influence across multiple dimensions, particularly on special teams. The Packers made a transition by shifting him to linebacker, aligning better with his inherent skill set.
However, he currently finds himself in the shadow of undrafted rookie Jimmy Phillips. Carpenter’s strength lies in his prowess on special teams, leveraging his size and speed to advantage. Notably, he showcased his proficiency as a rookie in 2022. Given the loss of Tyler Davis, the Packers’ demand for special teams assistance is heightened, and Carpenter’s attributes could prove crucial.
OL Royce Newman
WR Grant DuBose
DuBose faced a delayed entry into training camp due to a back injury, which put him at a disadvantage. The strong performance by Malik Heath has significantly bolstered his case for securing a roster position, thereby adding complexity to DuBose’s route to making the roster.
An intriguing question emerges: Do the Packers exhibit a greater affinity for the 2023 seventh-round pick over Samori Toure, a seventh-rounder from 2022 who’s demonstrated versatility by playing in the slot, mastering the offense from multiple positions, and accumulating experience in kick and punt returns?
Should the Packers opt for a roster comprising seven receivers, DuBose’s prospects should indeed be favorable.
DB Innis Gaines
Gaines boasts the ability to operate both as a slot corner and safety, showcasing versatility that extends to his contributions on special teams. This multifaceted skill set enhances his prospects of securing a spot as the fifth cornerback on the 53-man roster.
In the realm of players on the lower end of the roster, a diverse skill set is paramount, and Gaines aligns well with this requisite. Notably, it’s worth noting that in the latter stages of the 2022 regular season, Gaines took part in at least 10 defensive snaps in each of the final three games and featured in at least 10 special teams plays in the last four games.
CB Corey Ballentine
S Tarvarius Moore
Moore was absent from the preseason finale on Saturday due to a knee injury, which could potentially add complexity to his journey toward securing a roster spot. With Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford anticipated as starters, and Jonathan Owens receiving substantial first-team opportunities during camp, Moore’s situation becomes intricate.
If Dallin Leavitt secures a roster position as a specialist in special teams, and Anthony Johnson Jr. assumes the role of a developing prospect, it becomes challenging to find a suitable niche for Moore. Nevertheless, his remarkable speed and proficiency on special teams provide him with a substantial chance to make the cut.
P Daniel Whelan
Throughout the summer, the Packers have afforded Whelan numerous chances, even in the context of preseason matchups. His punting abilities have demonstrated impressive range, yet the Packers seemingly lean towards Pat O’Donnell due to his seasoned background, adeptness as a holder, and proficiency as a directional punter.
If the potential is a primary consideration, Whelan emerges as the stronger contender. Undoubtedly, Whelan’s prowess in punting at the NFL level is evident. The question remains: Could he potentially make a return via the practice squad?
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