Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Building The 53 - The Locks*

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson already made some hard decisions when he moved on from 13 guys that were either on The 53 or injured reserve at the end of last season.  As training camp opens for the 2015 Green Bay Packers, Thompson still has to make a number of tough decisions to finalize The 53.  The easy decisions to make are the locks* currently on the roster.

The reason all of the guys I am about to list are are locks* stems from one of three reasons.  One, they recently signed a huge contract extension (i.e. Randall Cobb).  Two, they were recently drafted in an early round of the NFL Draft (i.e. Damarious Randall).  Three, they are solid starters (i.e. Mike Daniels) at an important position. 

You may have noticed the asterisk following locks* because if any of the following guys suffer a season ending injury during training camp (knocking on wood as I type), the Packers will place them on injured reserve so they would not make The 53 but still would be in the team's long-term plans.  Also at least two players (defensive lineman Letroy Guion and Datone Jones) look like they will at least be suspended for the first game of the season, if NOT longer, but I still think they are both locks to The 53 once they are eligible to play. 

I did this same exercise in 2013 but skipped it last season.  In anticipation of that I gave my 31 "Locks" for The 53 in 2015 almost a month and a half before the 2015 NFL Draft.  Going into the start of training camp, here are the 35 locks* to make The 53:

QB: Aaron Rodgers and Scott Tolzien
RB: Eddie Lacy and James Starks
FB: None
WR: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and Ty Montgomery
TE: Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless
T: Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari
G: Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang
C: Corey Linsley and JC Tretter
DT: Mike Daniels and Josh Boyd
DE: Letroy Guion, B.J. Raji, and Datone Jones
OLB: Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal, and Nick Perry
MLB: Sam Barrington
CB: Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Damarious Randall, and Quinten Rollins
S: Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Micah Hyde
Specialist: Brett Goode (LS) and Mason Crosby (K) 

Those that read both of my 2015 "Locks" posts closely see that I've added some high 2015 NFL Draft picks (Randall, Rollins, and Montgomery), some veteran defensive lineman (Guion and Raji), and dropped Khyri Thornton from being a lock.  That is a pretty rapid decline for Thornton given that he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft and spent the entire 2014 season on injured reserve.  That leaves 18 roster spots on The 53 up for grabs.  Check back tomorrow for my list of guys "most likely" to make The 53.

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