A reduced roster size will make it more difficult for the Packers’ undrafted rookies.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Green Bay Packers‘ roster at training camp won’t have 90 players as usual, but instead 80.
As Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported, teams will have the choice to either trim their roster down to 80 players on or before July 28, when veterans will report for training camp, or to do so on or before August 16.
This could have an impact on many undrafted free agents around the league trying to make the roster.
Reduced roster size makes it tough for undrafted players
The Packers have a long history of giving opportunities to undrafted free agents, and there have been a number of success stories from Tramon Williams to Sam Shields and Geronimo Allison.
Just last year, Allen Lazard was given an opportunity by the Packers and made the most of it.
Lazard signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018 but was cut before the start of the season. The Packers gave him an opportunity eventually after he had initially missed out on the 2019 53-man roster, but he made the most of his playing time, going on to finish second among receivers for Green Bay last season with 477 yards and three touchdowns.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant there was no rookie minicamp or organized team activities held earlier this year, which already eliminated one opportunity for undrafted players to prove themselves. Now, with teams having to reduce their rosters by 10 players compared to normal during training camp, it will likely mean many undrafted rookies won’t get a chance.
For any players on the roster bubble who do make the 80-man roster, they won’t get the benefit of getting valuable reps in the preseason. There will be no preseason games held this year.
Undrafted rookies like cornerback Stanford Samuels, who has a chance to make the 53-man roster especially with Tramon Williams not being re-signed, will now have a more difficult path to the final roster ahead of the regular season.