With OTAs officially underway at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, the Green Bay Packers 2022 season remains just over three months away. Looking to build off three straight 13-win seasons, they are once again expected to be one of the premier contenders in the NFC. Set to have multiple new faces up and down the roster, the team will be without star wide receiver Davante Adams after they agreed to trade the veteran to the Las Vegas Raiders in a blockbuster deal. Along with this, the franchise also made multiple additions by inking Sammy Watkins and Jarran Reed to deals. With the battle for spots continuing into the start of training camp, here is my prediction for the final 53-man roster.
Green Bay Packers: Way-Too-Early 53-Man Roster Projection
Breakdown: After contemplating his future, Rodgers returns for his 18th season in Green Bay. He is set to surpass both Bart Starr and Brett Favre for the most seasons with the franchise by a quarterback. The 38-year-old agreed to a three-year $150.8 million extension that should keep him with the Packers for the duration of his career.
Set to handle the backup duties once again, Jordan Love will not have a large trade market with little game action in his young career. Kurt Benkert is the odd man out in the room and will likely return to the practice squad.
Running Backs/Fullbacks (4)
Breakdown: Home to one of the best 1-2 punches across the league, both Jones and Dillon return as the leader of the team’s rushing attack. Needing to lean on both players in the absence of Adams, they each surpassed the 1,000 scrimmage yards mark in 2021. After tearing his ACL on a kickoff return during Green Bay’s Week 8 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Hill remains a candidate to open the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP).
Signed by the franchise as an undrafted free agent, Goodson is a talented pass catcher with over 700 reception yards during his time at Iowa. The junior should provide an immediate impact while challenging for the RB3 spot.
Tight Ends (4)
Breakdown: The Packers choose not to target the tight end position in the draft. This is a group full of quality role players. Projected to be the lead option in the passing game upon his return, Tonyan is a question mark for week 1 after suffering a season-ending ACL injury in 2021. Back for his 17th season in the league, Lewis should see his contributions come primarily as an inline blocker on run downs. Showing flashes in training camp, Davis has caught the eyes of new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia and should be a core player for the group.
Wide Receivers (6)
Breakdown: A new look room heading into 2022, Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown are all gone after finding new homes around the league. Returning after a strong season in 2022, Lazard remains the teams do it all guy with his strong run blocking and ability to win at all three levels of the defense.
Choosing to double up at the position in the draft, both Watson and Doubs have all the tools to morph into stars at the pro level with the speed to run past opposing defenders and win vertically. Looking to get a big jump out of Rodgers in his second year, the Clemson product will primarily handle both the slot and Z receiver duties alongside Cobb. Needing to have a strong training camp, Watkins is not a lock to make the final roster after inking a one-year deal with the team in April.
Offensive Line (9)
Breakdown: The Packers will hope to get Bahktiari back healthy to handle the blindside protection duties. The two-time first-team all-pro member saw his 2021 season become derailed as he continued to work his way back from a torn ACL. With Jenkins also suffering the same injury in November against the Minnesota Vikings, look for Runyan to begin the year at the left guard spot. With depth across the board, Rhyan has the ability to play both tackle and guard, while Tom can also kick inside to spell Myers at the center spot if needed.
Defensive Line (6)
Breakdown: Green Bay’s defensive line has quickly going from a weakness to a strength over the last few seasons. Expect it to be amongst the best in the NFL next season. Led by Clark, the 26-year-old nose tackle earned his second pro bowl knod in 2021. This was after registering four sacks and 13 quarterback hits in 16 starts. Joining him on the inside will be Wyatt.
One of the leaders for the national champion Georgia Bulldogs defense, the 300 pounder is strong both against the run and the pass with a relentless motor. Furthermore, Reed offers another pass-rushing presence at the position. He is just two years removed from a career-high 10.5 sacks with the Seattle Seahawks in 2018.
Outside Linebackers (5)
Breakdown: The unquestioned leader of the group, Gary is fresh off the best season of his young career. The University of Michigan alumn showed flashes of becoming a star off the edge. He racked up 9.5 sacks while tying for fourth in the league in pressures and third in hurries. Bouncing back after a down year in 2020, Smith finished second on the team in sacks a year ago behind Gary while also recording a career-high 62 pressures.
This led the 29-year-old to earn a four-year $52.5 million extension. Lauded by many as one of the steals of the draft, Enagbare was one of the most productive pass rushers in the country over his final two years at South Carolina.
Breakdown: Campbell has turned into one of the best free-agent signings in franchise history. The veteran linebacker blossomed into the leader of Joe Barry’s defense last season. He was selected to his first pro bowl after landing with the team in late June. The longtime Atlanta Falcon amassed a career-high 146 tackles and two interceptions. Rewarded with a five-year, $50 million extension, the 28-year-old will once again be counted on to be a key player for the unit next season.
Joining him in the middle will be Walker. Selected by Green Bay with the 22nd pick in April’s draft, the senior spent the last four years at Georgia. Flying all around the field, he has the range and tackling ability to fill gaps and make plays behind the line of scrimmage in the run game.
Breakdown: After seeing his 2021 season become derailed by a shoulder injury, Alexander is healthy again. One of the game’s best shutdown cornerbacks, the former first-round pick earned All-Pro honors in 2020. He finished No. 1 among corners with a 42.3 percent completion rate while allowing a measly 4.7 yards per target. Looking to build off a strong rookie season, Stokes surrendered just a 46.2 percent completion rate when in coverage in 2021.
This number was achieved by only 15 players at the position around the league. Douglas is back after inking an extension with the team in one of the most important moves of the offseason for the franchise. He should help the Packers have one of the best trios in the NFL for the foreseeable future.
Breakdown: The tandem of Amos and Savage returns for the fourth consecutive season. The former has quickly become one of the most underrated players in the game. He appearing in all 17 games once again last season. This was while amassing 1,048 snaps and finishing second on the team in tackles (94), third in interceptions (2), and fourth in passes defended (8).
Savage has quickly become a chess piece for Barry. The University of Maryland product has played snaps in the box around the line of scrimmage and in deep center field. In desperate need of depth at the position, one name to watch is Carpenter. Drafted by Green Bay in the seventh round in April, he can be a hybrid safety/ linebacker with his rare movement skills and size.
Breakdown: J.J. Molson was recently released after spending last season on the Packer’s practice squad. This means that Crosby’s job appears to be safe. Undergoing a down year in 2021, the veteran kicker converted on just 73% of his attempts. The Lubbock, Texas native struggled mightily from 40 yards plus. He hit on just four of his eight attempts from that distance. O’Donnell was signed by the team in the offseason. The longtime Chicago Bears offers an upgrade over the departed Corey Bojorquez when holding on field goal attempts. Wirtel rounds out the specialist’s group. The 24-year-old appears to be on an inside track to handling the long snapper duties for a second straight season.