The Green Bay Packers have released their initial 53-man roster and assembled a practice squad of ten players. This roster, however, is far from final.
General manager Ted Thompson has already made two adjustments. He officially signed veteran edge defender Ahmad Brooks and claimed undrafted rookie Chris Odom off waivers, making room by trading Jayrone Elliott to the Cowboys and putting Don Barclay on injured reserve.
There are more moves to come.
Looking to further fortify the defensive front seven, the Packers are having defensive end Quinton Dial in for a visit on Monday. He’s a four-year veteran who projects as a 5-technique defensive tackle at 6-foot-6, 304 pounds.
Geronimo Allison doesn’t currently count against the 53-man roster as he serves his one-game suspension. But after Week 1, the Packers will surely sign him to the active roster.
That means that the Packers will release at least one, and possibly two (if Dial signs) more players.
Who is the most likely to get cut?
Packers have nine offensive linemen currently, and most teams could survive with eight. Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick are both interior linemen, and neither have really stood out.
But the Packers’ backup offensive line has such questionable quality that it’s a good idea to compensate with added quantity. McCray and Patrick are likely both safe, at least until Barclay potentially returns.
The five receivers the Packers have are almost certainly safe. Same goes for the three tight ends, two quarterbacks, and fullback.
Other than McCray and Patrick, the offensive player in the most jeopardy is probably rookie running back Devante Mays. But after last year’s running back injuries forced the team to convert Ty Montgomery and sign Christine Michael and Knile Davis, Ted Thompson probably feels the need to keep all four halfbacks currently on the roster.
With 24 players currently on offense and 26 on defense, any cuts for Allison and possibly Dial are more likely to come on defense.
Five safeties is a lot, but all five undoubtedly deserve their roster spot. The inside linebackers are safe on account of there being only three of them.
Other than the recently added Brooks and Odom, the Packers have three edge defenders. Nick Perry and Clay Matthews are obviously safe, and Kyler Fackrell will likely stick around for at least another year due to his draft position.
The most vulnerable players are at cornerback and the defensive line.
There’s three cornerbacks who were undrafted free agents at one point: Ladarius Gunter, Josh Hawkins and Lenzy Pipkins. Gunter is a dependable, trusted corner, and Hawkins has special potential. They’re probably safe, but Pipkins isn’t.
Pipkins has good size and speed at 6-foot, and a 4.46 40-yard dash. That could make him valuable on special teams as well as defense. He flashed in the preseason, especially against the Eagles. But he’s seventh on the depth chart and probably won’t contribute this season.
If the Packers do sign Dial, they may cut a defensive lineman in a one-for-one swap. Christian Ringo was kept for his pass-rushing potential, but he hasn’t shown much so far in his career. He’d be the most likely cut.
The other option would be to put Montravius Adams on injured reserve. That would keep Adams out until at least Week 8. That decision will come down to how quickly the Packers think Adams can return to the field.
If Adams won’t be healthy for at least another several weeks, then Dial is probably his replacement. I would bet on Pipkins being the cut once Allison returns.
But Ringo, McCray and Patrick, and even long shots like Gunter and Mays, shouldn’t get too comfortable just yet.