Here is the Packers 53-man roster for 2019. While some positions ended up exactly as anticipated, there were surprises.
QB – Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle
This may come as some surprise as DeShone Kizer looked great at certain points during the preseason. However, his fatal flaw was that he could not seem to develop good chemistry and timing with Davante Adams. As he was unable to properly use the Packers primary weapon, he didn’t serve much purpose on the team.
Meanwhile, Tim Boyle demonstrated a strong arm and good pocket movement throughout the offseason. While the hope is that Aaron Rodgers plays every game, Boyle has the tools to properly play the position if needed.
RB – Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Dexter Williams, Danny Vitale
Rookie Dexter Williams won the battle for the final roster spot. With some drops in camp and during the preseason, he opened the door for Tra Carson to win the job. However, the Packers decided to keep the 6th-round pick from this season, most likely because they were impressed by his ability to create yards on the ground, even when the blocking is less than ideal. Carson meanwhile, is headed to practice squad.
As for Danny Vitale, it appears the full back position will be incorporated often enough into the offense. And while his blocking skills are adequate, it is Vitale’s ability as a receiver that will allow him to stay on the field. Watch for him in 2019.
WR – Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow, Trevor Davis, Darrius Shepherd
Really, there were no surprises. The top 4 wide receiver spots appeared to be locked up several weeks ago. Really, the battle came down to the final 2 spots, and even then, things went as I expected.
With Equanimeous St. Brown being placed on season-ending injured reserve, the Packers were able to keep Darrius Shepherd without having to risk releasing him. Green Bay could have set a spot for St. Brown and then placed him on the 6-game IR. However, that would have meant that Shepherd would likely have been released with the intent of picking him back up after putting St. Brown on IR. Obviously, the Packers felt confident enough in Shepherd’s abilities to not want to risk someone else signing him. With both Shepherd and Trevor Davis, Green Bay has options for kickoff and punt returns. Both players could see time in both roles.
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TE – Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger
This was arguably the most pradictable position. All the reports from camp were that Robert Tonyan was the clear cut #2 tight end option, at least as a receiver. Marcedes Lewis is simply there to block, evidenced by his 4 targets last season. Perhaps Matt LaFleur changes that, but with how well Tonyan played during the preseason, I would expect a repeat of 2018 for Lewis’ stats.
OL – David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Billy Turner, Elgton Jenkins, Cole Madison, Lucas Patrick, Alex Light
The 5 offensive line starters have been well established all offseason. In addition, positional versatility has been an abundantly clear priority for the Packers as far back as free agency. Billy Turner is technically a right guard, but he can play all over the line. In the event of a Bryan Bulaga injury, the plan may be to have Turner slide over to right tackle and have either 3rd round pick Elgton Jenkins or veteran Lucas Patrick play guard. Jenkins will also likely be the backup center behind Corey Linsley.
As for the other tackles, Alex Light appears to be the main, and really only, candidate to replace David Bakhtiari at left tackle. Cole Maddison meanwhile, is similar to Turner in positional versatility. Maddison does have experience playing tackle in college. That may be what allowed him to stay and for the Packers to trade Justin McCray to the Browns.
DL – Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Montravis Adams, Kingsley Keke, Tyler Lancaster, Fadol Brown
Only one big surprise here. Fadol Brown made the team at the expense of James Looney, who was placed on the practice squad. Regardless, what was looking like a position of strength, is now a question mark absent Mike Daniels.
ILB – Blake Martinez, Oren Burks, James Crawford, Ty Summers
This may be the biggest surprise of the Packers 53-man roster for 2019. James Crawford making the team over Curtis Bolton may also say more about the latter health than the former’s ability. Still, with little experience next to Blake Martinez, inside linebacker is still a position to worry about for Green Bay fans.
OLB – Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Kyler Fackrell, Rashan Gary
The only surprise at outside linebacker may be the decision to keep 4 players instead of 5. Reggie Gilbert is the one who gets the short end of the stick with that decision. He was, however, not released but instead traded to the Titans. By doing so, the Packers were able to retain 7 cornerbacks.
CB – Jaire Alexander, Tramon Williams, Kevin King, Josh Jackson, Tony Brown, Ka’dar Hollman, Chandon Sullivan
The beneficiary of that aforementioned decision was Chandon Sullivan. The top 4 spots were never in doubt, even when Josh Jackson and Kevin King were both sidelined. During their absences, Tony Brown and Ka’dar Hollman both stepped up and were making plays consistently throughout camp and the preseason.
S – Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Raven Greene, Will Redmond
No surprises here, especially after Josh Jones‘ release last week. Raven Greene demonstrated the ability to operate as a dime linebacker, which locked up his roster spot. That was a role that was originally envisioned for Jones. However, his unwillingness to join the team during spring practices and his request for a trade made this feel more like an inevitability.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
K – Mason Crosby
P – JK Scott
LS – Hunter Bradley
No surprises here, although Sam Ficken did make things interesting. When Mason Crosby was sidelined at the start of training camp, Ficken did have some flashes. That includes a successful 63-yard attempt. However, Crosby demonstrated that he still had it and will once again be kicking for the Packers.
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