Monday, May 20, 2024

16 players on roster bubble to watch during Packers’ preseason opener

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The Green Bay Packers open the preseason schedule on Friday night in San Francisco against the 49ers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers won’t play, leaving Jordan Love to start, but Rodgers won’t be the only starter not playing. Expect Matt LaFleur to lean heavily on the backups. He needs players at certain positions to start separating from the pack and winning roster spots. There’s no better time to make an impression than when the lights come on in a game environment.

Here are 16 players on the roster bubble worth watching on Friday night:

RB Tyler Goodson: There’s a legit opportunity available at running back, where Kylin Hill remains on the PUP list and Patrick Taylor missed time with a groin injury. Goodson’s burst and receiving ability need to shine during the games, starting Friday.

WR Juwann Winfree: Numbers are tight at receiver. Winfree is experienced and steady, and he has the trust of Rodgers in the No. 1 offense. He’ll still need to be productive catching the football from Love this preseason to make the team.

WR Samori Toure: The rookie seventh-rounder enjoyed a big night at Family Night, so momentum is certainly on his side. If the Packers keep seven receivers, the battle might come down to Winfree vs. Toure.

TE Sal Cannella: The former USFL star hasn’t made much noise so far at camp, and the Packers have at least four healthy tight ends they like entering the preseason. Now’s the time to make a move for Cannella.

OL Cole Van Lanen: While the Packers await the return of David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, Van Lanen has a real chance to win a job as the ninth offensive lineman. Expect him to get snaps at left and right tackle during the preseason.

DL Jonathan Ford: The Packers run five-deep along the defensive line, but Ford has flashed during camp. His size and strength could really pop off the screen in run defense during the preseason. Can he force the Packers to keep six?

OLBs Jonathan Garvin/Tipa Galeai/La’Darius Hamilton: Garvin and Hamilton are starting to come on here as of late. The Packers probably need three backups at edge rusher, so all three are worth watching this preseason. Two need to step up and prove they can be capable, every-week backups at a key position.

LB Isaiah McDuffie: His spot on the team looks increasingly secure as the No. 4 linebacker. Don’t be surprised if he’s one of the stars of the preseason; he’ll play a lot, and make a lot of tackles, both on defense and special teams.

CB Rico Gafford: He’s right in the mix at backup cornerback, but the former receiver needs to impress during the games to make the 53-man roster. He’ll get plenty of reps at corner and on special teams, including as a returner.

S Shawn Davis/Vernon Scott: Davis came into camp as the slight favorite to be the No. 3 safety, but Scott has passed him through the first two weeks. The two could be fighting for one roster spot.

S Tariq Carpenter: There have been some struggles adjusting to coverage in the NFL. The seventh-rounder needs to show more at safety and on special teams or he’s likely headed for the practice squad.

LS Jack Coco/Steven Wirtel: Both have been disappointing during camp. Unless one turns it around, especially in a game environment, the Packers might have to look elsewhere for the Week 1 long snapper.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire

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