Five Packers Who Should Be On the Practice Squad

The Green Bay Packers are about to make their final cutdowns next week after the team plays its final preseason game in Buffalo. The Packers are a deep and talented team as they gear up for what could be the final season before some of their key players may head elsewhere.

Because of the depth on this team, the Packers will be unable to keep some very talented football players on their final 53-man roster. Several of these players are clearly good enough to play in the NFL. The Packers will try to stash some of these players on the practice squad where they can provide depth and develop their talents to someday, hopefully, become regular contributors to the team.

Here are five players who will probably not make the final roster but who the Packers should try to keep on the practice squad this year. Obviously, these players will have to pass through waivers first but they can also be elevated to the active roster for up to two regular season games once they are on the practice squad.

Injuries suffered in the final preseason game or in practice before the start of the season could change these projections.

1. QB Kurt Benkert

The Packers will need to keep one quarterback on the practice squad in case of injury or as insurance in case of a Covid outbreak in the quarterback room.

Benkert has more experience than most third-string quarterbacks and he has a good arm and a solid understanding of the playbook.

Benkert has shown flashes of ability in the first two preseason games.  He has also shown good leadership skills and appears to be well liked in the locker room. If the Packers can squeeze him through waivers, he would make a good addition to the practice squad.

2. RB Dexter Williams

Everybody is talking about Kylin Hill and the job he did in training camp, but Dexter Williams has once again shown he can run the football well during this preseason. The former Notre Dame star has been part of three Packers training camps and knows the offense well.

If the Packers need to plug in a running back due to injuries, they know they can count on Dexter Williams to fill in.

The thing that has kept Williams from making the roster thus far is his pass blocking and route running. He seems to have improved enough in those areas in training camp this year to at least earn a spot on the practice squad.

3. WR Juwann Winfree

Even after releasing Devin Funchess, the Packers will have to let go some talented receivers. Winfree was a standout at OTAs before suffering an injury that has kept him out of action during the preseason.

The former Colorado star has played five NFL games over two seasons, three with Denver and two with Green Bay. Assuming he’s healthy enough to start the season, the Packers should keep him on the practice squad as Winfree can fill in as a depth receiver and on special teams if injuries strike or the right matchups present themselves.

4. LB Isaiah McDuffie

McDuffie is on the bubble right now and may make the final roster if he has a strong showing against Buffalo. Injuries slowed the progress of the sixth-round pick out of Boston College and prevented him from participating in the first few weeks of training camp.

The Packers have four inside linebackers who will make the team ahead of McDuffie, but McDuffie likely has more long-term upside than some of the reserves.

In limited reps, McDuffie has showed enough potential that the team should want to keep him around on the practice squad.

5. Innis Gaines or Christian Uphoff

Gaines and Uphoff are likely battling for one roster spot at safety. Whichever player does not make the final roster should be kept on the practice squad.

Both players have made some good plays during the preseason and both can be valuable contributors on special teams.

Uphoff has better size than Gaines but Gaines has more experience. This will be a tough decision for GM Brian Gutekunst but he should do his best to try to keep both players in the Packers organization.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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6 points

Comments (44)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
rolafaive's picture

August 28, 2021 at 12:05 pm

Benkert will never get to practice squad, he will get scooped up just like Hill in N.O did when they tried same thing with him years ago.

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GilMartin's picture

August 28, 2021 at 12:15 pm

Very possible they won't be able to keep him on the practice squad but they should try unless they are so high on him they feel he's a legit number two candidate next year. Thanks for the comment, rolafaive.

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canadapacker's picture

August 28, 2021 at 07:59 pm

Didnt go through every team but think that Benkert will not be claimed. We get to keep quite few (16) including 6 with 2 accrued seasons - which may mean that some Olinemen might get to stay on the PS - would that include Wiliams ? Begelton and Stearnberger after his suspension

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Coldworld's picture

August 28, 2021 at 10:10 pm

This is a guy who only got here after a tryout. He’s an Inexperienced back up. If he goes we find another. If he stays we find another to develop. He is not Taysom Hill who was picked up as a gadget and just lost out to Winston. Hill was a freak Athlete whom Payton had the imagination to use and we didn’t. He’s not an NFL caliber QB.

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dobber's picture

August 28, 2021 at 12:59 pm

I think we're overvaluing him. Most teams already have a #2 of Benkert's value or better. Tim Boyle was a better player and prospect, and he's in a dogfight with David Blough to be the #2 in Detroit. Maybe someone grabs him, but it's not the end of the world if they do.

Taysom Hill was scooped up, but not as a QB. He's been mostly an H-Back/gadget player. His play as a QB hasn't been enough to convince NO to use him as their regular starter.

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Bure9620's picture

August 28, 2021 at 01:11 pm

I highly doubt that. He is JAG. If he is scooped up, fine. No one is winning with Kurt Benkert. I don't know why Packers fans always have a love affair with QBs with no real chance of doing anything. Benkert is not getting claimed.

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CheesyTex's picture

August 28, 2021 at 04:08 pm

"Benkert is not getting claimed".

Falcons lost their backup, McCarron, for the season. Benkert spent time with them, and would make sense as a no-cost claim.

I'm hoping Gute could get a 7th rounder for him.

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Bure9620's picture

August 28, 2021 at 05:02 pm

Not a chance.

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dobber's picture

August 28, 2021 at 06:39 pm

Didn't they just sign Josh Rosen?

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canadapacker's picture

August 28, 2021 at 06:41 pm

Falcons got Rosen to backup. I don't think that they would cut him. And Atlanta would have to cut Rosen who played nfl games

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Todd's picture

August 28, 2021 at 06:27 pm

Even if he is released and some team picks him up, there’s a good chance he’ll be available again later in the season. Not sure the Packers can really keep three QBs on the roster at this point.

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dobber's picture

August 28, 2021 at 06:41 pm

There will be plenty of QB prospects cut loose in the next 3 days of similar ability to Benkert. If someone else snatches him up, they bring in someone new to the PS.

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tincada's picture

August 30, 2021 at 08:19 am

You can be sure that Benkert is in the stands at every game so that if Love is forced to play they'll be calling him to suit up immediately.

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Since'61's picture

August 28, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Gil I completely agree with your choices for the PS. I’m actually hoping that McDuffie and Uphoff make the 53. Also Gaines should be on the PS at least as well.

I think we have a pretty complete team especially if our PS does not get poached. First let’s get through today without injuries. GPG! Thanks, Since ‘61

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Coldworld's picture

August 28, 2021 at 10:15 pm

Uphoff doesn’t look ready to me but he’s worth polishing as I think he has the potential to cover. At the moment he’s only a STer. We need a S who can cover deep. Black and Gaines can’t. Can Yiadom or one of the newer DBs? If not, a waiver claim may be needed.

McDuffie looks like our 3rd best ILB. Wilborn might be the 4th. No faith in Burks and Summers has not shown in camp. Both should at least make the PS.

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dobber's picture

August 30, 2021 at 08:02 am

Put 10 lbs on McDuffie and he starts to look a lot like Blake Martinez.

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albert999's picture

August 28, 2021 at 01:26 pm

Packers look pathetic
What’s up with all the packers slipping and falling all over the field
Change ur damn cleats

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dobber's picture

August 28, 2021 at 01:35 pm

The Packers are playing their 2s against Buffalo's 1s, and they're not getting embarrassed. This has been a pretty watchable half of football, and the Packers 2s on offense have been moving the ball...against the Buffalo 1s.

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Todd's picture

August 28, 2021 at 06:41 pm

I was kind of thinking the same thing, dobber, particularly in the first half. Even with vanilla schemes from both teams, the Bills’ 1’s didn’t light up our 2’s. Second half is about players trying to make the 53 or PS. But the first half, I thought went okay all-in-all.

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jhtobias's picture

August 28, 2021 at 01:52 pm

sure name 2 starters that have played go away troll you suck !

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dobber's picture

August 28, 2021 at 02:38 pm

Mason Crosby with the PUNT?

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Since'61's picture

August 28, 2021 at 02:53 pm

Tells us what they think of Scott!!! Thanks, Since’61

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Coldworld's picture

August 28, 2021 at 10:17 pm

Lol, he hit a line drive. I think we probably stick with Scott.

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jont's picture

August 28, 2021 at 03:40 pm

If the issue with JK is consistency, then they should send him there with a sense of fear that he'll lose his job if he shanks it, but instead it's just one punt and then... "Mason Crosby with the PUNT?"

Dobber, there's no way Crosby replaces JK, right? So this was... just an effort to lighten the mood and remove JK's sense of fear so he relaxes and calmly swings away?

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dobber's picture

August 28, 2021 at 06:36 pm

Crosby must be the "emergency punter"? Imagine if he tore a hamstring in his kicking leg making that punt...

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Coldworld's picture

August 28, 2021 at 10:19 pm

Then we have Molson ... Cue conspiracy theories

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Slim11's picture

August 29, 2021 at 08:03 am

According to Crosby, Scott cramped up and Crosby volunteered to punt.

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mrtundra's picture

August 30, 2021 at 07:48 am

I could have sworn that I saw Crosby line up at RT, against Buffalo. Mr Utility.

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dobber's picture

August 30, 2021 at 07:57 am

He played a couple snaps on defense with the headset helmet, too, didn't he?

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Packers0808's picture

August 28, 2021 at 02:50 pm

Sternberger should be toast and gone!

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stockholder's picture

August 28, 2021 at 04:51 pm

He needs to get his butt in gear.

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Coldworld's picture

August 28, 2021 at 10:23 pm

He needed to but didn’t. In fact he looked to be just drifting through the game. He completely whiffed on a block on what should have been a TD run. This is why he hasn't seen the field in the past when healthy. I’d be shocked if he sees the field again for the Packers without a run of injuries.

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ImaPayne's picture

August 28, 2021 at 10:33 pm

i agree. had more then enough ops to shine and didnt

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rstain99's picture

August 29, 2021 at 05:55 am

I hate to say it but time to cut the cord has been given enough time to show he is an NFL Saw him out there but not sure he was involved. Think they are set with top 4.

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stockholder's picture

August 28, 2021 at 04:50 pm

Benkert, I just didn't see enough LONG throws from him. I believe someone will claim him. Williams shouldn't sign if he's cut. Gone! Winfree is a good choice. McDuffie another good choice. Both Safeties should be on the PS. And I'm going to put Charles there too.

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CHEESEHEADDALLAS's picture

August 31, 2021 at 09:11 pm

We need to get rid of love if Berkeley gets pick up and Rodgers goes down we are in a world of hurt

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CHEESEHEADDALLAS's picture

August 31, 2021 at 09:11 pm

We need to get rid of love if Berkeley gets pick up and Rodgers goes down we are in a world of hurt

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Lphill's picture

August 28, 2021 at 06:04 pm

JK Scott is still God awful

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Coldworld's picture

August 28, 2021 at 10:25 pm

50 plus yards and 5.5 second hang time. Today we can’t really criticize

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PhantomII's picture

August 28, 2021 at 07:58 pm

Dexter has came along slow, but this year he has shown us some of his great use of vision to slice his way thru defenses where it looked like a minimal gain and made more of it. He has looked like he is ready to play with confidence. We have 3-4 pretty good RB's and that's a good thing for a long season.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 28, 2021 at 11:38 pm

He is no Samkon Gado!

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Bear's picture

August 29, 2021 at 12:33 am

Dexter still is awful at pass blocking.

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pack4to84's picture

August 29, 2021 at 06:18 am

Maybe they tried Crosby at Punter to see if we can get buy without one. Their keeping 3 Qb's you can't cut Benkert he showed enough to keep him. He is better than what the Packers have had in the Rodger era since they lost Matt Flynn. Yes Love looked good, but he will need a backup next year.

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Duneslick's picture

August 30, 2021 at 02:05 pm

IF crosby gets hurt punting they have no place licker or punter

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