Packers: Roster Preview & OLB Depth

Jclombardi previews roster & talks about OLB depth.

Guest senior writer jclombardi @ 

Final Roster Version 1.0:

We preview the possible final roster at the beginning of the 2010 NFL season:

Quarterback: Rodgers, Flynn.  Bubble: Harrell. Commentary: as the Packers face tough decisions on this roster, Harrell may be headed to the taxi squad.

Running back: Grant, Jackson, Lumpkin.  Bubble: Porter, Starks. Commentary: we see Lumpkin on final roster and maybe Porter on IR and Starks on PUP.

Fullback: Kuhn, Johnson.  Bubble: Hall.  Commentary: we see Kuhn and Johnson to be solid, but Hall will stay if he has solid special teams worth. 

Wide receiver: Jennings, Driver, Jones, Nelson. Bubble: Swain, West, Chery. Commentary: the 5th spot is the big question.

Tight end: Finley, Havner, Quarless.  Bubble: Lee, Crabtree.  Commentary: How many TEs will the Packers carry? 

Offensive line: T Clifton, G Colledge, C Wells, G Sitton, T Tauscher, T/G Bulaga, T/G Lang, Spitz, T/G Newhouse, C/G Dietrich-Smith.  Bubble: G Nick McDonald, T Chris Campbell.  Commentary:  Dietrich-Smith is too good for taxi squad & Spitz is a good backup having trade value.

Defensive line:  DE  Jenkins, NT  Raji, DE/NT Pickett, DE Neal.  Bubble: DE Harrell, DE Wynn, DE Wilson, NT Toribio, DE Talley.  Commentary: after the first four, the rest look very average making this call to be a tough one. Of course, TT may keep “near bust” Harrell around for another year.

Linebacker: OLB Matthews, ILB Barnett, ILB Hawk, OLB Jones, ILB/OLB Chillar, OLB Poppinga, ILB Bishop, OLB Zombo.  Bubble: OLB Obiozor, ILB/OLB Francois. Commentary: OLB Zombo looks like a good one with continued improvement, but they may need to trade for a solid backup.

Cornerback: CB Woodson, CB Williams, CB Harris, CB  Shields, CB Underwood. Bubble: Lee, Bush.  Commentary: Harris may start the season on PUP list. Shields looks like a raw good CB with continued improvement. Lee appears to have fallen behind Underwood who has a questionable shoulder injury.

Safety: Collins, Burnett, Bigby, Blackmon.  Bubble: Martin, Peprah. Commentary: Bigby should start the season on the PUP list.  While Blackmon is still recovering from a knee injury, he is too valuable as a KR/PR/S.

Specialists: K Crosby, LS Goode, P Masthay.  Bubble: P Bryan.   Commentary: Masthay is the frontrunner to be punter.

Taxi squad: Harrell; Levine; Obiozor;  Clark; Williams; Campbell.

Commentary: OLB thin.  Recently, we reviewed an outstanding Packer Update analysis about our OLB situation [adapted]–Poppinga and Chillar are options behind starters Matthews and Jones.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a weaker collection of backups in the  league. Zombo is a marginal athlete whose lack of lower body strength and explosiveness will be exposed against quality opposition.  He will be a No. 4 or 5 outside linebacker like Poppinga. Poppinga holds his own vs. the run, but he’ll be stymied as a pass rusher and he’ll be abused in coverage.  

We agree wondering how we can get an adequate backup beyond developing rookie Zombo and average backup Poppinga.  We are fortunate with the rapid progress of our rookies and our free agents where Burnett will start and  Neal will have a large role among draft picks and immediate impacts from pool of undrafted players [including Zombo and Shields]. 

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