8 takeaways from the original 53-man Packers roster


The Green Packers made 25 roster moves Tuesday to create the team’s first 53-man roster for the 2022 season.

Over a month of practice and three preseason games helped shape the roster from Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur. So how did it all go down?

Here are some highlights from the Packers’ first 53-man roster for 2022:

Rolling packages with 2 spines

Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The Packers released Tyler Goodson and Patrick Taylor and kept only Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon on the roster at running back. Matt LaFleur’s team won’t be entering a game situation with just two running backs, so either there will be an addition to the 53-man roster between now and Sept. 11, or the Packers will use practice squad calls to navigate their way into the first four weeks until Kylin Hill is eligible to come off the PUP list. That’s why it’s called an “initial” 53-man roster. The Packers played with some numbers at certain positions in an effort to keep the best players. Goodson and Taylor are likely to return to the practice squad on Wednesday.

Preference for rookie drafts

Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The Packers kept all 11 draft picks, including all four seventh-round picks. Brian Gutekunst picked Samori Toure over Juwann Winfree, Rasheed Walker over Caleb Jones, Jonathan Ford over Jack Heflin and Tariq Carpenter over several different safeties. General managers will always prefer draft picks, especially in Year 1. It’s a projection exercise, and draft picks generally win when it comes to upside. In the case of both Ford and Carpenter, it’s pretty hard to argue that he played better than his counterparts at the position during camp and the preseason.

Numbers along the offensive line

(AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Having serious injury questions surrounding David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins likely helped the Packers keep 10 offensive linemen in the first 53. Royce Newman, Yosh Nijman, Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker can all play offensive tackle, providing insurance in case Bakhtiari or Jenkins aren’t ready early in the season. There is decent flexibility here too. Walker, a seventh-round pick, earned a roster spot late in the process with a stellar performance in the preseason finale.

Tremendous depth in key areas

The Packers are relatively deep in some spots on the roster, including the offensive and defensive lines, but some notable weaknesses are concerning entering the regular season. The depth chart just isn’t strong behind starters at outside linebacker, cornerback or safety, three important defensive positions. The Packers may need to make a veteran addition at outside linebacker and safety before Week 1. The depth at safety looks particularly barren, but some quality veteran safeties were released on Tuesday, so there’s hope. Overall, the defense is talented all around, but needs to stay healthy in 2022.

Nice story

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The Packers signed Micah Abernathy – a former USFL player – on Aug. 10 to help bolster an injury-plagued safety position. Twenty days later, Abernathy is on the Packers’ first 53-man roster. He was outstanding in three preseason games and earned the position. If Brian Gutekunst doesn’t add to his safety group between now and Sept. 11, Abernathy could be a significant player – both as a backup safety and on special teams.

Experts solidify

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The Packers activated Mason Crosby off the PUP list at the deadline and kept long snapper Jack Coco, at least for now. There are a few long snappers worth considering for waivers (Cal Adomitis?), but Coco held off incumbent Steven Wirtel and was consistent during the preseason. Will the Packers bring back Ramiz Ahmed to provide a backup behind Crosby, who is coming back from right knee surgery at nearly 38 years old? Probably a safe idea. As of now, the three-man special team will be Crosby, Coco and Pat O’Donnell.

Who could be in the running?

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The Packers have not claimed any players out of final cuts since 2017. Last year, only 27 total players in the NFL were claimed after final cuts. In other words, claims are rare. But are there any contenders this year? Running back Tyler Goodson, receiver Juwann Winfree, offensive tackle Caleb Jones and defensive linemen Jack Heflin and Chris Slayton are all probables. The development of Matt LaFleur’s coaching tree (Nathaniel Hackett in Denver, Luke Getsy in Chicago) could increase the potential of a team in the running for a former Packer. The biggest risk may be Jones, who is a uniquely huge individual (6-9, 370) and has put in a number of good snaps at left tackle this preseason. Teams are always looking to step up at offensive tackle.

The biggest surprise?

(AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

It’s hard to say it was a big surprise. The roster was somewhat unpredictable on the sidelines, but surprises were few and far between. More curiosities than anything else. Juwann Winfree who isn’t making the team after all the praise Aaron Rodgers has heaped on him this summer is qualifying. Rookie Tyler Goodson showed flashes of Aaron Jones-like ability and did more than enough of the scrimmage to make the team. Safety Shawn Davis not making the roster was shocking, though an injury played a role. Jack Heflin beat out Jonathan Ford by a wide margin, but didn’t make the team. Overall, none of these decisions should greatly affect the team’s chances of winning many football games in 2022.

This story originally appeared on Packers Wire

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