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Packers' surprise cuts include receiver Jake Kumerow, tackle Alex Light

Ryan Wood
Packers News
Packers wide receiver Jake Kumerow (16) was a favorite target of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

GREEN BAY - On a cutdown Saturday conducted in the middle of a pandemic, the most surprising part of the Green Bay Packers’ trim to their initial 53-man roster was how few things were unexpected. 

When the biggest surprises on the day were bubble receiver Jake Kumerow and potential backup left tackle Alex Light being released, is there really a surprise? It’s a far cry from releasing All-Pro guard Josh Sitton at the deadline, or the shock of last season when receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was placed on injured reserve. 

The Packers cut Kumerow in favor of keeping Malik Taylor as their fifth receiver, no doubt choosing Taylor’s upside over Kumerow, who is what he is as a receiver at this point. Even with the urging for more playing time from Aaron Rodgers last season, Kumerow ranked fifth among Packers receivers with 328 snaps in 2019. That was 350 snaps fewer than Geronimo Allison. 

The argument for keeping Kumerow might have hinged on his readiness early this season. But if the Packers were making that decision based on Kumerow’s track record, his past production wasn’t much to keep him tethered to the roster. Kumerow ranked ninth on the team with 12 catches last season, three fewer than tight end Marcedes Lewis. His 219 yards were eighth, 34 fewer than running back Jamall Williams.

Taylor, who spent all of 2019 on the Packers' practice squad, was an emerging talent after a strong camp. He ran a 4.4 40 with a 36-inch vertical at his pro day in 2019, numbers that indicate his superior athleticism and higher upside. 

Kumerow likely had his quarterback’s backing. 

“Jake Kumerow has been such a solid performer for us for the last couple years,” Rodgers told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday. “I love his reliability. I think he’s a fantastic, steady player who’s very heady on the field, he makes plays. He plays with a lot of confidence, and he’s a guy you love having on the squad.” 

Rodgers later said he was unsure what the front office would decide, which is also unsurprising. If there’s one thing 2020 has showed about the influence the two-time MVP holds inside the organization, it’s that Rodgers does not have the power to make roster decisions. 

The Packers also went with athletic potential over known product on their offensive line. Alex Light has put his play on film. It wasn’t pretty last season, when he struggled mightily in San Francisco, leading the Packers to make the late-season acquisition of Jared Veldheer. Light stayed with the team this offseason, and while Nijman started camp on the physically unable to perform list, Light got backup left tackle reps. 

He apparently didn’t show enough improvement from the product he put on the field last November. With Nijman, superior potential won out. 

The rest of the Packers’ cutdown day went mostly as expected. They kept three quarterbacks, with Tim Boyle expected to enter Week 1 as the top backup ahead of rookie Jordan Love after a strong camp. The rest of the roster breakdown included: four running backs, five receivers, four tight ends, three offensive tackles, five guards, one center, five defensive linemen, five outside linebackers, four inside linebackers, six cornerbacks, five safeties and three specialists. 

The Packers were not afraid to place injured players on their initial 53. Outside linebacker Randy Ramsey made the cut despite missing the final week of camp with a groin injury. While a source said Ramsey’s availability for Week 1 is in question, the injury is believed to be minor. 

Cornerback Kabion Ento had his day to celebrate. Ento, a feel-good story on cutdown day, made the initial 53 despite having foot surgery to repair what a source called a Jones fracture midway through camp. It was the second straight camp Ento failed to finish because of injury. A year ago, Ento injured his hamstring after landing awkwardly on an athletic interception. Ento stayed on the Packers' practice squad throughout the season, and the team appeared high on him  

It’s likely the Packers will promptly move Ento to the injured reserve. But keeping him on their initial 53 gives them the option of returning Ento midway through the season. 

Inside linebacker Kamal Martin could also be a candidate for injured reserve after having knee surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus.

In a bit of trivia, the Packers decided not to include an undrafted rookie on their 53-man roster for the first time in 15 years. The Packers have long been considered a safe haven for promising players who go undrafted. General manager Brian Gutekunst has continued the franchise’s reputation first established under predecessor Ted Thompson as a place undrafted rookies get a fair shot. But with COVID-19 erasing preseason games this season, undrafted rookies both had less opportunity to play their way onto the roster, and less chance of being claimed through the waiver process because of the lack of film other teams see. 

The Packers will go about forming their 16-player practice squad Sunday. The practice squad will have six more players than usual, extra insulation from possible coronavirus outbreaks. Two players will be available for a call up each week, giving teams 55 players on the roster. 

But Saturday was about the 53. The Packers formed theirs mostly as expected. 

Jim Owczarski, Tom Silverstein and Olivia Reiner contributed to this report.

Packers roster by position

QB (3): Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle, Jordan Love

RB (4): Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, AJ Dillon, Tyler Ervin

WR (5): Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, MVS, Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor

TE (4): Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara

OL (9) David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor, Billy Turner, Elgton Jenkins, Rick Wagner, Lucas Patrick, Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan

DL (5): Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, Tyler Lancaster, Montravius Adams

ILB (4): Christian Kirksey, Kamal Martin, Oren Burks, Ty Summers

OLB (5): Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Randy Ramsey, Jonathan Garvin

CB (6): Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Chandon Sullivan, Josh Jackson, Ka'dar Hollman, Kabion Ento

S (5): Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Raven Greene, Will Redmond, Vernon Scott

Spec (3): Mason Crosby, JK Scott, Hunter Bradley

Packers cuts

CB DaShaun Amos

LB Krys Barnes

TE Evan Baylis

WR Reggie Begelton

S Henry Black

T Cody Conway

RB Damarea Crockett

LB Tipa Galeai

C Jake Hanson

G Zack Johnson

WR Jake Kumerow

T John Leglue

T/G Alex Light

FB John Lovett

DL Willington Previlon

LB Greg Roberts

CB Stanford Samuels

LB Delontae Scott

WR Darrius Shepherd

WR Malik Turner

RB Dexter Williams

LB Tim Williams

The Packers placed LB Curtis Bolton on reserve/physically unable to perform, placed G Simon Stepaniak and RB Patrick Taylor on reserve/non-football injury, and waived/injured DL Treyvon Hester and CB Will Sunderland.