The Packers’ path to 53: Crosby and draft picks stay; Kizer, Moore go

Here's where's where things stand as we await the team's official announcement of how it got to a 53-man roster.
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There will be a new backup quarterback for Aaron Rodgers, with the Green Bay Packers releasing DeShone Kizer on Saturday as part of a series of moves to get down to the league-mandated 53-player limit.

Tim Boyle outplayed Kizer in the preseason, with both players making two starts. With that, Boyle will be Rodgers' backup and Kizer likely will be joining his third team in as many years.

In the other big move, the Packers released kicker Sam Ficken, signaling a victory for Mason Crosby in a months-long roster. 

Meanwhile, late-round draft picks Ka'Dar Hollman, Dexter Williams and Ty Summers, undrafted receiver Darrius Shepherd, defensive back Chandon Sullivan, defensive lineman Fadol Brown and first-year guard Cole Madison are bubble players who made the initial 53. Madison was a fifth-round pick last year who sat out the rookie season to get a handle on personal issues. As it stands, he is the ninth offensive lineman. 

All eight draft picks made the initial roster, including sixth-round cornerback Hollman, sixth-round running back Williams and seventh-round linebacker Summers.

While this year's picks made it, two members of the Class of 2018 were released. Predictably, one of those was receiver J'Mon Moore. He was a fourth-round pick last year who couldn't win a battle against inconsistent hands. Fellow 2018 draft pick James Looney also was released. The Packers chose Brown as the sixth defensive lineman. After a strong preseason and training camp, Looney might land on the practice squad.

Going back to receiver, the Packers chose productive undrafted rookie Shepherd over productive 6-foot-5 Allen Lazard. Meanwhile, Equanimeous St. Brown was placed on season-ending injured reserve. The Packers could have kept him for Saturday and placed him on IR on Sunday, a procedural move that would have made him eligible to return to the roster at midseason. He suffered an ankle injury against Oakland in the third preseason game. 

At kicker, Crosby missed the first half of training camp with a calf injury but hit 16-of-17 field-goal attempts in practices that were open to reporters. While he did miss an extra point in Thursday's preseason game, the Packers have decided to go with Crosby's considerable experience. This will be the 13th season for Crosby, whose 1,469 career points are No. 1 in franchise history by a whopping 415 points.

That experience matters, at all positions,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said earlier in the week. 

Ficken will be subject to waivers. Two potential landing spots are in the NFC North with Chicago and Minnesota, the first two opponents on the schedule. He was 3-of-6 on field goals in two stints with the Rams but has a huge leg and had a strong preseason.

Also out is the veteran and versatile offensive lineman Justin McCray. The Packers traded him to Cleveland, where he'll be reunited with his former offensive line coach, James Campen. 

McCray started 13 games in two seasons and played every position on the offensive line during his time. However, he was not a strong fit in Matt LaFleur's zone scheme and lost his battle with Lucas Patrick to be a backup center/guard. The outcome became obvious on Thursday night against Kansas City, when McCray played all 55 snaps and Patrick played none.

Sticking with the offensive line, undrafted free agent tackle Yosh Nijman was released. One of the most athletic offensive line prospects in the draft class, he is an obvious practice-squad candidate.

In fact, Shepherd was the only undrafted rookie to make the roster. Three of the four undrafted outside linebackers were released and Greg Roberts – who received $70,000 in guaranteed salary – was placed on the physically unable to perform list. He will be eligible to begin practice after Week 6, assuming he's past the core-muscle injury that sidelined him for training camp.

The Packers also released undrafted receiver-turned-cornerback Kabion Ento, who was having a strong training camp until suffering a hamstring injury. Chances are good that he winds up on the practice squad.

On Friday, the Packers got started on the path to 53. According to our sources and other reports, 15 players were released, including guard Dejon Allen, who was signed on Thursday and introduced himself in the huddle to his teammates when he got in the game. 

Here is the official list, as released by the team at 5 p.m.

QB: DeShone Kizer, Manny Wilkins.

RB: Tra Carson, Keith Ford.

WR: Allen Lazard, J'Mon Moore, Teo Redding and Malik Taylor.

FB: Tommy Bohanon and Malcolm Johnson (waived/injured).

TE: Evan Baylis, Pharoah McKever.

G: Justin McCray (traded to Cleveland), Dejon Allen and Anthony Coyle.

OT: Adam Pankey, Yosh Nijman, Gerhard de Beer.

DT: James Looney, Deon Simon, Olive Sagapolu.

ILB: Curtis Bolton (waived/injured), Brady Sheldon.

OLB: Reggie Gilbert (traded to Tennessee on Wednesday), Markus Jones, Randy Ramsey, Greg Roberts (PUP), James Folston.

CB: Kabion Ento, Nydair Rouse, Jocquez Kalili and Jackson Porter.

S: Ibraheim Campbell (PUP), Natrell Jamerson, Tray Matthews.

K: Sam Ficken.