With training camp three weeks away, we’re in the throes of the dogs days of summer. The Packers have 83 players on their roster. The limit is 80, but the four unsigned draft picks don’t count until they’re officially under contract, and restricted free agent safety Atari Bigby doesn’t count until he signs his tender.
Back by popular demand, we’re ranking the players from No. 1 to No. 83. This list doesn’t necessarily list the players from best to worst, but we take into account the players’ importance on the roster and other factors such as contracts and potential.
Packer Report Ranking: 72 (tie)
Assuming the Packers take five wide receivers into the regular season, returning players Brett Swain (torn ACL last season) and Patrick Williams (practice squad) are the front-runners for that fifth spot. The next four players will try to break through to push for that spot or earn a place on the practice squad.
— Jeffrey Moturi: The 5-foot-11 Moturi showed some good stop-and-start skills on short routes during the offseason practices. An undrafted player from UTEP, Moturi caught 17 touchdown passes in 2007 and ranks third in school history with 26 touchdowns and fourth with 170 receptions.
— Shawn Gore: The 6-foot Gore, who played at Bishop’s University in Canada, was the 10th overall pick of the CFL draft but he decided to test himself in the NFL. He was signed by the Packers after attending the rookie camp on a tryout basis. He didn’t consistently stand out but he’s got the size, speed and leaping ability.
— Charles Dillon: The 6-foot Dillon is a long shot. He spent time with the Colts during training camp two years ago and played in arenafootball 2’s Spokane (Wash.) franchise last year. Before landing at Washington State, he played junior college basketball and football.
— Chastin West: The 6-foot-1 West caught 79 passes with six touchdowns in 36 games at run-first Fresno State. Even though he returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns in college, he wasn’t doing either during offseason practices.
Packer Report Ranking: 76 (tie)
— Allen Barbre: It’s just hard to see a scenario — other than a boatload of injuries — in which Barbre makes the roster. He had a chance to start at left guard in 2008 but dropped the ball, and his stint as the starting right tackle last season was nothing short of a disaster with seven sacks allowed. The Packers drafted two linemen — first-rounder Bryan Bulaga and fifth-rounder Marshall Newhouse — so at least one veteran will have to go. Chances are, that’s Barbre, who spent the offseason mostly at left guard and left tackle.
— Ronald Talley: Talley was an undrafted free agent last season who spent the year on the practice squad. The defensive end has some talent but sitting out the offseason practices after arthroscropic knee injury won’t help, especially after the Packers drafted defensive ends in the second round (Mike Neal) and seventh round (C.J. Wilson).
— D.J. Clark: The 6-foot-1 Clark, who was signed to the practice squad late last season, has a chance, considering the Packers have so many question marks at cornerback. Clark started 45 games at Idaho State, leading the team in interceptions all four seasons with a total of 15. Those skills weren’t evident during the offseason drills, though.
Packer Report Ranking: 79 (tie)
Numbers, numbers, numbers ...
— Anthony Levine: The 5-foot-11 safety was signed after trying out at the rookie camp. Levine, who picked off five passes at Tennessee State, has athletic ability but is caught up in the numbers game with the addition of third-round pick Morgan Burnett, the shift of Will Blackmon from cornerback to safety and the return of Charlie Peprah.
— Tom Crabtree: Crabtree (6-4, 245) was signed to the practice squad in December after a stint with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. He caught 40 passes for 329 yards in four seasons at Miami (Ohio), so he’s not an explosive performer. Jermichael Finley is a budding star, with established players Donald Lee and Spencer Havner and fifth-round pick Andrew Quarless vying for the other two jobs.
— Graham Harrell: Harrell’s best chance is the practice squad, considering the Packers have gone with only Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn the last two years. Harrell posted ridiculous numbers at Texas Tech (15,793 yards and 134 touchdowns) and his feel for the game was obvious from his first practice.
— Aleric Mullins: It’s hard to say anything definitive about the big guys in the non-padded practices, but Mullins seems like a worthwhile project — even though he was only a part-time player at North Carolina. As Ted Thompson likes to say, the Good Lord doesn’t make many people with his size (6-1, 319). But the Packers are set at nose tackle with B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett.
— Alex Joseph: Joseph (6-2, 240) was reasonably productive at Temple (third-team all-MAC as a senior) and got extra snaps with Nick Barnett rehabbing his knee during offseason practices. But there’s no reason to believe the Packers won’t head into the season with the same four inside linebackers as last year: Barnett, A.J. Hawk, Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.