The Green Bay Packers will probably make some waiver claims this morning, which will change the make-up of the 53-man roster they assembled on Friday, but here are the initial surprises.
Brandon Saine, running back — You could throw the oft-injured James Starks in this category too, but Saine played even less than Starks during the preseason. First, it was a surprise the Packers kept four running backs — five, if you count fullback John Kuhn. Second, it was a surprise Saine was one of them.
Jarrett Boykin, receiver — If you look strictly at his play, it’s no surprise at all the Packers kept Boykin. If you look at the odds, it’s a big one. Boykin is an undrafted rookie. He beat out the more highly-touted Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley for the Packers sixth receiver spot. Throw in the fact that the Packers don’t usually keep six receivers and you can see Boykin took a longer road than anybody to make the 53.
Don Barclay, guard — Barclay is another undrafted rookie. He improved throughout camp, so the fact that he’s still around isn’t overly surprisingly. The fact that he’s one of only two backups — the other being Evan Dietrich-Smith — on the offensive line is.
Phillip Merling, defensive end — Merling earned the bust label after washing out in Miami after being selected in the second round. The Packers gave him new life and he slowly came on during training camp. Ultimately, he beat out Daniel Muir, who seemed like a lock a week ago, for a roster spot.
Terrell Manning, linebacker — How can a guy go through the entire preseason, show absolutely nothing and end up on the final roster? The fact that he was a fifth-round pick, I guess.
Dezman Moses, linebacker — At this point, Moses being on the roster isn’t a surprise. We’ll just list him because he’s an undrafted rookie.
Sean Richardson, safety — Richardson is the fourth undrafted rookie to make the Packers roster. He played alongside Casey Hayward at Vanderbilt. He can hit, although he has some work to do in coverage. Interestingly, the Packers chose Richardson over Anthony Levine.
Brandian Ross, cornerback — Ross was an undrafted free agent in 2011. Frankly, this is probably the biggest surprise of the bunch. Not only have we not noticed him on the field, but we know next to nothing about him.