Packers pre-training camp 53-man roster predictions

Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith
Green Bay Packers, Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Defensive line (5)

Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, Montravius Adams, Treyvon Hester

Like receiver, the defensive line position was a hot topic for a lot of fans this offseason. After the 49ers gashed the Packers on the ground in the NFC Championship Game, a lot of people wanted the Packers to take someone in the draft to address the position. Again, the Packers stood pat, not taking a defensive lineman in this year’s draft. They did bring in free agent Treyvon Hester, which didn’t raise a lot of eyebrows, but he may be able to do something in Green Bay.

Montravius Adams was on the bubble for me. As a former third-round pick, he hasn’t shown a whole lot. I think this will be a make-or-break year for him, especially after his recent arrest in May. The Packers will be expecting second-year player Kingsley Keke to take a big step this year. I think he is a big reason why they didn’t take someone in the draft.

Otherwise, Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry are locks to make the team. I think Tyler Lancaster could be the odd man out this season.

Cut: Tyler Lancaster

Linebackers (7)

Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Christian Kirksey, Oren Burks, Rashan Gary, Kamal Martin, Jonathan Garvin 

The Packers found two absolute playmakers for their defense last year in Za’Darius and Preston Smith. They were game-changers for the Packers, getting after the opposing quarterbacks non-stop. Last year’s first-round pick Rashan Gary will look to join the Smiths in harassing quarterbacks after a year of learning and getting his feet wet. He is a player I am looking to take a big step this year.

They will be losing a lot of production now that Blake Martinez signed with the Giants. Martinez made a ton of tackles for the Packers, but he struggled in coverage. In today’s NFL, linebackers need to be able to cover.

So, the Packers replaced him with free agent Christian Kirksey. Kirksey will be the starting inside linebacker at the start of the season. The biggest question is, who will be starting next to him? Oren Burks is the incumbent, but was injured early last season and didn’t make much of an impact once he did return. The Packers drafted Kamal Martin out of Minnesota in the fifth round to compete with Burks for that spot.

Last year, undrafted rookie Curtis Bolton made a really good impression in camp and was likely going to earn a roster spot before injuring his knee and being lost for the season. He will be back to battle for a spot, but with the additions of Kirksey and Martin, I think it would be tough for him to earn a place on the roster.

Cut: Ty Summers*, Curtis Bolton*, Tipa Galeai*, Krys Barnes, Randy Ramsey, Greg Roberts, Delonte Scott, Tim Williams