Remember the years when the Green Bay Packers kept three fullbacks on the roster? Even though the Packers are one of the only teams in the NFL to still employ fullbacks, they don’t play that much on offense. Still, the Packers, at one time, had John Kuhn, Korey Hall and Quinn Johnson on the active roster.
Kuhn was the clear lead dog. He would get the most snaps on offense. Hall was a valuable special teams player. Johnson was one of Ted Thompson’s crappy draft picks, so he had to stay around. That said, keeping three fullbacks in the modern NFL was laughable.
If coach Mike McCarthy has his way, the Packers’ roster will once again be worth a chuckle. McCarthy has expressed his desire for five tight ends and four quarterbacks.
Here’s his comment on tight ends.
“So to have four tight ends, five tight ends on your 53(-man roster) would be ideal because it gives you the flexibility to have different body types, guys that have different skill sets. I don’t think you can have enough of those guys,” McCarthy said during the owners meeting.
And how about quarterbacks?
“There should be a fourth guy there,” McCarthy said at the combine. “I mean, think about it, why doesn’t every team have a minimum of four quarterbacks? That’s where I hope the game goes.”
No NFL team, to my knowledge, keeps more than three quarterbacks. However, five tight ends wouldn’t be unprecedented. It wouldn’t be unprecedented because the Packers did it in 2011. That year, they kept Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor on their initial 53-man roster.
I would argue that Williams didn’t deserve to be there and Taylor was nothing more than a special teams player. Nonetheless, it was done.
Now you have to look at quality. Obviously, being an offensive guy, McCarthy wants as many options as he can get on offense. Defense be damned.
At the moment, the Packers have two proven tight ends — Jimmy Graham and Lance Kendricks. Behind that, they have Emanuel Byrd, a former undrafted free agent. Clearly, the Packers need to add some bodies if McCarthy has a chance to get his wish. That will likely mean using a draft pick in the first four rounds on a tight end.
At quarterback, the Packers do have four guys, with Aaron Rodgers, DeShone Kizer, Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan. That’s not going to last, though.
I don’t see any way the Packers keep both Hundley and Kizer. Hundley will have to have an awesome camp and preseason to stick around, in my opinion. Callahan has a tenuous hold on a roster spot, as well. He was cut last year after camp, put on the practice squad and only brought up after Rodgers got injured. Even when Hundley struggled mightily, McCarthy refused to play Callahan, which tells you how the coaches view him.
In all likelihood, the Packers will end up drafting a developmental quarterback late. Then we’ll see how things shake out in camp.
I would bet against McCarthy’s wishes coming true. Four quarterbacks on the active roster? Maybe three, but that’s too high of a cost. We know most of the team’s cornerbacks are going to be injured at some point. The Packers need bodies on defense more than they need four quarterbacks.
As for the tight end position, it just doesn’t have enough quality right now to think the Packers could end up with five. Maybe four if they choose a tight end in the draft and Byrd continues to develop.
In either case, the Packers would be sacrificing defensive depth — something I would suggest they can’t afford — if either of McCarthy’s wishes come true.