10 Rookies Make Packers "First 53;" Harrell, Gurley Among CutsPosted:Sep 4th, 2011 1:28 am
What does it stay about a Super Bowl champ that is willing to open the season with rookies making up nearly 20 percent of the roster? Ted Thompson elected to keep seven of his ten draft picks and three undrafted rookies on his initial 53 man roster. Clearly he was impressed with the immediate impact many of them can make on special teams.
Randall Cobb, Alex Green and DJ Williams all have a chance to become core offensive players within a tear or two and a couple of the linebackers, DJ Smith and Vic So'oto have shined during games.
But the last couple of guys on the roster probably won't sleep real soundly the next couple of nights. With just eight offensive linemen, the Pack could easily add another after scanning the waiver wire. That could spell curtains for one of the undrafted guys, Jennings or Lattimore.
Probably the biggest surprise was the release of QB Graham Harrell, who showed development in his last start and looked like the heir apparent as the understudy to Aaron Rodgers. But since the Pack didn't plan on activating him on game days, they decided it was more important to load up on linebackers and tight ends. We'll find out in the next day or two whether someone picks up Harrell, or if he lands on the Packers' practice squad.
I thought the Pack would go against history and keep six wide receivers but ultimately they thought the five tight ends provided more versatility. Undrafted Tori Gurley, at 6'4" and with a crazy wingspan that helped him block five punts during the preseason, couldn't crack the team's deep receiving corps. My hunch is he will be scooped up by another team (the Vikings perhaps?), otherwise the Pack would welcome him onto the practice squad. The same holds true for fellow receiver Chastin West.
The current roster looks like this: two QBs, 4 RBs, 5 WRs, 5 TEs, 8 OL, 6 DL, 10 LBs and 10 DBs, with three specialists. Wouldn't shock me to see one LB (Lattimore or Jones) replaced with an offensive lineman if the braintrust finds one to their liking.
Now that a lot of tough decisions have been made, the team can focus on Drew Brees and the Saints. The opener is just days away. Really looking forward to being at Lambeau on Thursday night. It's going to be crazy loud when the champs come out of the tunnel. Ihave goosebumps already.
Thompson found takers for two guys he was going to cut anyway. Fullback Quinn Johnson was shipped to Tennessee and rookie guard Caleb Schlauerdaff was dealt to the Jets, both for conditional draft picks. Just last season Thompson kept three fullbacks; this year Kuhn is the last man standing, though tight end Tom Crabtree could fill in in a pinch.