GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a tradition that stretches more than a decade, here is our annual ranking of the 90 players on the Green Bay Packers’ roster ahead of the start of training camp on July 27. This isn’t merely a look at the best players. Rather, it’s a formula that combines talent, salary, importance of the position, depth at the position and, for young players, draft positioning. More than the ranking, we hope you learn a little something about every player on the roster.
No. 68: C Jake Hanson (6-4, 295; 24; first year; Oregon)
Last year, with veteran Corey Linsley entrenched as the starting center, the rookie sixth-round pick ranked 59th.
“Who knows, perhaps 12 months from now, Hanson will have moved up 40 spots on this list,” was our introductory sentence.
Instead, even with Linsley signing with the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency, Hanson back-tracked a bit. That’s because he had a disappointing rookie training camp, never challenged for a roster spot and spent his first season on the practice squad. Presumably, Hanson improved over the course of the season but not enough for the Packers to not use a second-round pick on Josh Myers. It was Myers, not Hanson, who took the first-team reps throughout the offseason.
“My grandpa played for the L.A. Rams way back when it was leather helmets, didn’t even have facemasks and he played right out of high school,” Hanson said. “He didn’t go to college or anything like that. He was just kind of a backup support player, playing both on the O-line and D-line for about three seasons. Every time I get to talk to him and see him, he’s always telling me all these cool stories about some legendary Rams players he got to play with and how different the game was back then. So, it’s really cool that I’ll be able to kind of share a similar experience with him.”
No. 69: P Ryan Winslow (6-5, 219; 27; first year; Pittsburgh)
Late last season, the Packers signed Winslow to the practice squad. At the time, he provided an insurance policy during the COVID-plagued season. He did enough to stick around for the offseason practices and will challenge disappointing former fifth-round pick JK Scott for the punting duties.
Winslow, an undrafted free agent in 2018, punted six times in two games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2019 in place of veteran Andy Lee. He had a net average of 44.2 yards on those kicks. In 2020, for sake of an apples-to-oranges comparison, Scott finished 28th out of 30 qualifying punters with a net average of 37.0 yards.
Winslow spent training camp with the Chicago Bears in 2018 and the Cardinals in 2019 and 2020. His father, George Winslow, punted at the University of Wisconsin for two seasons – he was the Badgers’ first scholarship punter – and then the Cleveland Browns in 1987 and New Orleans Saints in 1989.
No. 70: LS Joe Fortunato (6-4, 240; 27; first year; Delaware)
Fortunato snapped for Delaware from 2012 through 2015. He hasn’t snapped in a game since the Blue Hens’ victory over Elon on Nov. 21, 2015. Not only has he not snapped in a game for five seasons, he’s never competed in an NFL training camp.
Most people might think it was time to turn to Career Plan B. Not Fortunato. His perseverance paid off. He’ll compete for the snapping job against inconsistent former seventh-round pick Hunter Bradley.
“Sometimes, I think maybe I’m a little crazy,” Fortunato said after signing with the Packers. “My dream my whole life was playing in the NFL. I was never the strongest, fastest, most athletic on the field – nowhere near that – but I always loved the game. I love the team, the locker room, being out there on gameday. I like to practice, too – obviously, because I’ve been practicing on my own for years. I always thought I could do this. I always believed in my heart that if I put my mind to this and I did everything I possibly could, eventually I’d get a chance at this thing.”