What the Packers’ roster bubble looks like a week into training camp

Technically, most of the players on the Green Bay Packers’ roster are on the roster bubble, when you consider that the 90-man roster will be cut down to 53 players by Week 1. That makes the following what is significant coming out of training camp. , as far as the roster is concerned, to be difficult.

Because of that, Acme Packing Company decided to take a temperature check on the team a day before they set to practice with full pads for the first time this summer. We’ll take you through the offense and defense, explaining who already has a seat at the table and who is fighting for a 53-man spot this month.

Offense

We don’t know how many players the Packers plan to keep offensively, but it’s usually within a roster spot of 25 players, half of the roster once you count the kicker, punter and long snapper. Through the first five practices, the following 21 players have either worked with “the ones” offensively, have gotten first-string reps with a special teams unit or have worked as returners:

“The Ones” (and special teamers)

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers
  • RB: Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon
  • WR: Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Romeo Doubs, Juwann Winfree, Amari Rodgers and Danny Davis
  • TE: Marcedes Lewis, Tyler Davis, Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney
  • OL: Josh Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Jake Hanson, Royce Newman, Cole Van Lanen and Zach Tom

Beyond those 21 players, six other players on the offensive side of the ball are injured and should be in roster consideration (at the very least), when they get healthy: RB Kylin Hill (PUP, knee), WR Christian Watson (PUP, knee), WR Malik Taylor (shoulder), TE Robert Tonyan (PUP, knee), OT David Bakhtiari (PUP, knee) and OL Elgton Jenkins (PUP, knee.) That brings our list of considered players up to 27, but four others, QB Jordan Love, RB Patrick Taylor, WR Samori Toure and OL Sean Rhyan, are also candidates to make the roster, despite not getting reps with “the ones.”

First, let’s figure out how many “roster locks” there are on the offense. We’ll define roster locks as players who would be surprise releases as it stands today, on the first of August. These players are either returning 2021 contributors, projected 2022 contributors or high draft picks.

Roster Locks

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love
  • RB: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and Kylin Hill
  • WR: Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs
  • TE: Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Tyler Davis and Josiah Deguara
  • OL: David Bakhtiari, Elton Jenkins, Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan Jr., Josh Myers, Jake Hanson, Royce Newman, Zach Tom and Sean Rhyan

The players above, if healthy, would take up 23 of the projected 25 spots on the offensive side of the ball. With that being said, the serious nature of the injuries to Hill, Tonyan, Bakhtiari and Jenkins could open up to four extra roster spots in Week 1 for the Packers. With that in mind, this is the list of next up “roster bubble” players who could fill in the last two to six open spots on Green Bay’s offense this year:

Roster Bubble

  • RB: Patrick Taylor
  • WR: Juwan Winfree, Malik Taylor, Amari Rodgers, Danny Davis and Samory Toure
  • TE: Dominique Dafney
  • OL: Cole Van Lanen

Taylor was a late-season contributor for the Packers last season after Hill’s injury and should be expected to be RB3 if Hill starts the year on the physically unable to perform list. No other backs have stepped up in Hill’s absence, even before the defenders got to wear their shoulder pads onto the field.

Winfree is seeing playing time with “the ones,” unlike the second-year third-round pick Rodgers. Taylor is currently injured but has played significant special teams reps for the team in the past. Rodgers and Davis are both being featured as exclusively returnmen with “the ones,” while Toure is a seventh-round rookie that hasn’t really cracked the lineup anywhere as of yet.

Dafney was slowly passed on the depth chart by Deguara and Davis last season but may stick on the team as a special teams-playing TE4 until Tonyan returns from his ACL tear. Van Lanen is seeing some snaps at right tackle with “the ones,” but is behind at least seven linemen in the pecking order, when healthy, and will be fighting mid-round rookies (Tom and Rhyan) to stick on the team. Van Lanen’s case seems to hinge exclusively as a tenth offensive lineman who can give the team depth as a right tackle.

Defense

In the same vein, here are the defenders who have played with “the ones” on defense or are working with key special teams units in practices:

“The Ones” (and special teamers)

  • DL: Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Jarran Reed, TJ Slaton and Devonte Wyatt
  • OLB: Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, La’Darius Hamilton, Tipa Galeai and Kingsley Enagbare
  • ILB: De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Ray Wilborn, Isaiah McDuffie and Krys Barnes
  • CB: Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas, Shemar Jean-Charles and Rico Gafford
  • SAF: Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Shawn Davis, Vernon Scott, Dallin Leavitt and Tariq Carpenter

Notable players missing from this list are the injured CB Keisean Nixon (NFI, groin), the recently returned OLB Randy Ramsey, veteran special-teamer ILB Ty Summers and young defensive linemen Jonathan Ford and Jack Heflin. These players make up a group of 31 defenders who figure to fight for 25-ish roster spots and have yet to see a major injury on their side of the ball.

While there are fewer injuries on the defensive side, I also believe there are fewer true roster locks, making defensive roster spots more up for grabs. Here is the list of players I believe would be upset not to make the team at this point:

Roster Locks

  • DL: Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Jarran Reed, TJ Slaton and Devonte Wyatt
  • OLB: Rashaan Gary and Preston Smith
  • ILB: De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker
  • CB: Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon and Shemar Jean-Charles
  • SAF: Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage

With those 16 players in mind, here are the remaining 15 players who are fighting for about nine roster spots leading up to Week 1:

Roster Bubble

  • DL: Jack Heflin, Jonathan Ford
  • OLB: La’Darius Hamilton, Tipa Galeai, Randy Ramsey and Kingsley Enagbare
  • ILB: Ray Wilborn, Isaiah McDuffie, Krys Barnes and Ty Summers
  • CB: Rico Gafford
  • SAF: Shawn Davis, Vernon Scott, Dallin Leavitt and Tariq Carpenter

On the defensive line, Heflin essentially took a “redshirt” year last season, earning a spot as an inactive gameday player on the 53-man roster. This offseason, though, the team drafted Wyatt (first round) and Ford (seventh round) while adding Reed in free agency, which should make it harder for him to do the same in 2022. At outside linebacker, Hamilton and Galeai are seeing a majority of their snaps with “the ones,” where Enagbare has spent a little time this summer. Ramsey just returned from a season-ending ankle injury and is the wildcard at the position, as the staff valued what he did on special teams in 2020 highly.

At inside linebacker, Wilborn and McDuffie have seen snaps with “the ones” while 2021 starter Barnes has mostly been playing with the second-stringers. All three have been featured on special teams, where Summers has been missing. Over the last three years, few players league-wide have played more special teams snaps than Summers, who is set to play on the last year of his rookie contract. Between Campbell, Walker, Wilborn, McDuffie and Barnes being ahead of Summers on the linebacker depth chart, not including the special teams potential for the hybrid rookie Carpenter, it feels like Summers might not make the squad.

Gafford has transitioned back to cornerback after playing some wide receiver at the professional level. When Nixon was healthy, he took the team’s CB4 reps, which were then replaced by Jean-Charles when Nixon sustained a groin injury. Still, Gafford has seen snaps as a returnman, a position he played for special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia with the Raiders, and seems to be moving up the cornerback depth chart to get some reps with the starters. At safety, the cluster of Davis, Scott, Leavitt and Carpenter, who may play more linebacker than safety defensively, is getting looks as reserves and special-teamers. Davis seems to be getting the most third-safety looks while Leavitt, who played for Bisaccia in Las Vegas last year, seems to have an edge on “teams.”


When you look at the roster in totality, it may seem overwhelming to pin down who is really on the roster bubble or not. When you look at the first-team trends the Packers have had over the last week, though, it seems relatively clear that about 23 players are fighting for about 11 to 15 roster spots, depending on injuries, at the moment.

Obviously, things can change. No one was predicting that Heflin was going to make the 53-man roster on August 1st of last season. The preseason film will matter in these races, but it’s worth keeping a finger on the pulse of these training camp battles for a baseline of how the team will shape up in 2022.

If you would like to read our practice recaps, which pull in information from various sources in Packers media, here is a link to the writeups that served as source documents for the takes in this article.

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