The Green Bay Packers defense is not only loaded with tons of talent at the top of the depth chart – there’s a lot of depth, as well.
Depth is a crucial factor when it comes to whether or not an NFL team is still standing in January and February. Good depth is often a catalyst behind championship teams, but building good depth isn’t easy.
That process starts in August, when cuts are made. Teams with good depth are left with tough decisions when it comes to picking and choosing the players that stay and the players that go. It’s a good problem to have, but it also results in surprising decisions, at times.
Per The Athletic‘s Matt Schneidman, the Packers are heading toward one of those surprise decisions: He has 2022 seventh-round pick Tariq Carpenter failing to make the Packers’ 53-man roster.
Schneidman wrote the following regarding Carpenter’s future:
“If Scott’s shoulder injury suffered Friday will keep him out a while — LaFleur said Monday he doesn’t know the diagnosis yet — then both Scott and Leavitt could land on short-term IR and open up spots for two of Abernathy, Carpenter and Gaines assuming they all clear waivers.”
Essentially it’s up to the health of Vernon Scott and Dallin Leavitt, per Schneidman. If either player -or both- are place on one of the IR lists, it will open up an applicable roster spot for Carpenter. But, as Schneidman notes, Carpenter has to clear waivers, first.
Carpenter played 35 defensive snaps and nine special teams snaps in the first preseason game against the San Fransisco 49ers. He recorded 4 total tackles on defense and one special teams tackle. Per Pro Football Focus, he allowed two catches on two targets for 11-yards over 13 pass coverage snaps.
The former Yellow Jacket suffered a knee injury against the 9ers that caused him to miss last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Carpenter returned to practice Sunday, but the setback with the knee may be just enough to cause him to miss out on making the 53.
Carpenter’s Sunday return is a great development for him because the Packers’ final preseason game is on Thursday. Meaning, he may not have had enough time to get healthy enough and ready enough for the game if he returned to practice at a later date.
Making a roster is hard enough for a seventh-rounder and injuries certainly don’t help the situation. But, it’s not impossible and the Packers typically have a lot of faith in their draft picks. So, it’d be somewhat of a surprise if Carpenter doesn’t make the 53. Especially with all the injuries at the position.
Either way, Carpenter’s going to have to make sure he balls out against the Kansas City Chiefs, because, apparently, the clock is ticking.
You can check out Schneidman’s full column, here.
Featured image via Samantha Madar/Green Bay Press Gazette -USA TODAY NETWORK