It’s way too early to know exactly who will be on the Packers’ 53-man roster come cutdown day on Sept. 4.
But that doesn’t mean it’s too early to make educated guesses for who those 53 players will be.
The biggest question, obviously, is whether Aaron Rodgers will be on the roster. Everything is quiet on the Rodgers front right now, but we may receive clarification as to where he stands if he doesn’t report to the first day of mandatory minicamp on June 8. That’s the first day the Packers are allowed to fine Rodgers for missing team activities.
Meanwhile, the Packers added two quarterbacks in the past week in veteran Blake Bortles and former Falcons practice-squad player Kurt Benkert, who attended rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. General manager Brian Gutekunst said after the draft that they’d sign at least one more quarterback with only Rodgers and Jordan Love on the roster at the time. Now the Packers will enter training camp with those four quarterbacks if they hold firm in their stance of not trading Rodgers.
Does the team view Bortles as a potential starter if Rodgers doesn’t show and Love falters in the next couple months, or is the third pick in the 2014 draft simply in Green Bay to give the Packers a sturdy second- or third-string option? The only certainty is that this summer in Green Bay will be filled with intrigue, whether the reigning MVP is there or not.
For now, enjoy this way-too-early roster projection as a distraction.
Quarterback (3): Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, Blake Bortles
I think Gutekunst will remain firm in his stance of not trading Rodgers. I also don’t think Rodgers will retire or hold out into the regular season. I find it hard to believe that Rodgers’ closest friends on the team — Davante Adams, David Bakhtiari and Marcedes Lewis — won’t be able to convince him to show up in time to start against the Saints on Sept. 12. Even if Rodgers can’t reconcile his relationship with the general manager, why not play for the head coach, teammates and fans he likes?
Running back (3): Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Kylin Hill
The only suspense here surrounds who will get the third spot, and whether the Packers will keep a fourth running back or use that roster spot elsewhere. Tyler Ervin was the fourth running back last year, but he doubled as a return man. Patrick Taylor and Dexter Williams won’t return kicks or punts, so they, along with 2019 sixth-round pick Dexter Williams, may be the odd men out if Hill, the 2021 seventh-rounder, impresses in camp.
Wide receiver (6): Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Amari Rodgers, Devin Funchess, Malik Taylor
Funchess might be the biggest wild card on the entire team considering he hasn’t played since Week 1 of the 2019 season, when he broke his collarbone while with the Colts. He opted out of last season due to COVID-19 but has been posting on Instagram all offseason about how ready he is for 2021 with the Packers. If he can rediscover the form that saw him catch a combined 12 touchdown passes in 2017 and ’18 with the Panthers, the Packers might be in luck. Taylor likely earns the final spot over Equanimeous St. Brown because he can help in the return game.