Ranking the Packers Roster: 90-51
Thanks to the NFL’s new cutdown rules, the Packers will be able to carry 90 players all the way through the final preseason game. In the months to come, the coaching staff and fans will get a long look at all 90 of those players, but to give us a head start, Jon and Gary have ranked each of the 90 players on the roster from bottom to top, based on how valuable the player is to the team.
Though many of these players will rise and fall on this chart throughout the preseason, here’s a starting point for getting to know the team that will become the 2017 Green Bay Packers.
81-90: Joe Callahan’s magical ride is probably over
Gary: Jon, you’ve got Joe Callahan ranked 83rd on this list. That’s the lowest ranking between either of us for a player who was on the active roster last season. What’s up?
Jon: Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but I don’t think Joe Callahan is an NFL quarterback. He doesn’t have the physical skill set to be a starter and he’s limited enough that you’d feel weird going into a game with him as your top backup. A third string quarterback is an extravagant luxury, and I don’t think Callahan brings enough to the table to justify that luxury, thus only a few players I’d cut before him.
I also feel like I rated Calvin far too low. He could be one of the undrafted free agents most likely to make the roster.
Gary: Maybe it’s coincidence, but the Packers have collected a lot of pass rushers this offseason who played collegiately in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Previously, they have had to teach defensive ends in college how to stand up and rush the passer. It will be interesting to see whether that will give guys like Calvin a better jump at the start of camp.
71-80: Can Demetri Goodson stick around again?
Jon: You’re pretty low on Demetri Goodson, who has managed to stick on the roster for two years now despite a suspension and contributing little of value on defense. Do you think he’s going to get bumped this year?
Gary: There’s an imaginary line in a player’s career where the promise and potential of who they could turn out to become goes away, and you’re left with whatever is there. In my opinion, Goodson passed this line last season. There are too many younger, more athletic cornerbacks with fewer injuries in their past than Goodson.
I take it you aren’t that high on either Taysom Hill or Joe Callahan finding their way onto the 53-man roster as a third-string quarterback?
Jon: If it was my roster, no. I suspect the Packers may think differently, but I would not lose one minute of sleep over cutting both of them loose if they don’t wow in the preseason.
61-70: The Joe Kerridge Experience
Gary: When you look at the players we ranked between 70 and 61, they seem to be lottery tickets. They each have one pretty special quality, but have yet to put it all together. Is there anyone on here who you think has a chance to take their game to the next level this season?
Jon: From my list, I think Cody Heiman could have a shot to be this year’s version of Jordan Tripp. That is, an athletic special teamer.
From your list, I like Reggie Gilbert and Jonathan Calvin a lot. Whether you call the position edge rusher, outside linebacker, or something else, it seems the Packers are not terribly well stocked at the position. Both Gilbert and Calvin have a chance to make some hay there.
I like that we both have Joe Kerridge pretty low, but Mike McCarthy loves fullbacks almost as much as he loves tight ends. Do you think he keeps two again this year?
Gary: Kerridge is an interesting case, because he provides a lot of value for the Packers in areas that aren’t glamorous or particularly stat-filled. He was a solid special teamer, and played well when called upon to block on offense. If McCarthy is inclined to keep two fullbacks again, don’t rule out linebacker Cody Heiman making the transition to fullback.
If Heiman doesn’t stick at linebacker, he may follow a path much like Spencer Havner. He joined Green Bay as a linebacker, but changed positions on the practice squad and stuck with the Packers as a tight end.
51-60: Are Jeff Janis and Max McCaffrey similar?
Jon: You’re a Janis believer! But also you have him ranked in the same tier as Max McCaffrey! I am vexed by this. Explain!
Gary: I guess I am a Jeff Janis believer in comparison to your disdain for him. I’m very lukewarm on Janis making the team this season. The Packers offense added Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks and an onslaught of rookie receivers and running backs. They most likely don’t have the luxury to carry a wide receiver who really only plays special teams. He’s a valuable special teamer, which is why he’s high on this list.
I like Max McCaffrey! He joined the Packers in the latter part of last season, and now will have a full offseason to prove he’s worth keeping around. It’s like a reverse Seth Curry/Steph Curry situation. Maybe some of Christian’s powers will rub off on Max. They’re best friends, after all.
Who’s more likely to make the 53-man roster out of training camp: Malachi Dupre or Jordan Tripp?
Jon: I would put it like 52/48 in favor of Tripp. I don’t think either one has a strong case, since they’re both fairly replaceable, but Tripp is more of a known quantity and Dupre seems ripe for a case of training camp flu that would probably keep him on (VERY HEAVY AIR QUOTES) “injured reserve” all of next season.