These Packers were once among final cuts as well, then became key players later

JR Radcliffe
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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On cutdown day, when NFL teams need to reach 53-man rosters, you'll often hear the caveat that this is just an initial roster and changes might still be coming. Not to mention the players who are trimmed and subsequently added to practice squads can have an impact down the line.

Even if we're just looking at the past seven years, there are several examples of Green Bay Packers who didn't make the initial roster, went unclaimed on waivers and wound up contributing significantly. Might someone on this year's cut list fit the bill?

More:How Samori Toure, Tyler Goodson and other Packers players on the bubble are coping with looming roster cuts

Here are some of the players who once found themselves on the wrong end of the 53-man roster but didn't stay there forever.

Joe Thomas, 2015

Green Bay Packers' Joe Thomas pressures Chicago Bears' Matt Barkley on Dec. 18, 2016, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

No, not the future Hall of Fame offensive lineman from Brookfield, but the linebacker. He didn't initially make the 53-man roster in 2014 or 2015 after signing as an undrafted free agent. In the first year, he was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, but after the second, he briefly signed with the Cowboys before the Packers signed him back to the active roster early in 2015. Thomas went on to play three years with the Packers, appearing in 42 games with 1½ sacks and 76 tackles, and he's played for Dallas, Houston and Baltimore in the years since. He's currently with the Chicago Bears.

Lucas Patrick, 2016

Green Bay Packers center Lucas Patrick (62) celebrates his team's win after their game Saturday, December 25, 2021 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Green Bay Packers beat the Cleveland Browns 24-22.

While most of the final-cut coverage that year focused on the surprise departure of Josh Sitton, Green Bay also let the undrafted free-agent offensive lineman go and signed him to the practice squad. He made the final roster in 2017 and played in 12 games, with two starts, and he spent time at guard and center over five seasons with the Packers, including 28 starts over the past two years. He's with the Bears this season.

Geronimo Allison, 2016

Packers receiver Geronimo Allison during the game against the Eagles on Sept. 26, 2019 in Green Bay, Wis.

The undrafted free agent joined the practice squad after he was cut and was promoted to the active roster in October. He finished his rookie year with 12 receptions and two touchdowns, with two starts, then spent another three years with the Packers. In all, he caught six touchdown passes with the Packers and made 89 receptions. He was with Detroit last year after opting out of the 2020 COVID-19 season.

Tyler Lancaster, 2018

Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Tyler Lancaster (95) fends off a block while tackling Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) for a three-yard loss during the first  quarter of their game Sunday, November 21, 2021 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers 34-31.

The defensive tackle didn't make the cut as an undrafted free agent but joined the practice squad and wound up on the active roster by early October. He made five starts that year and 16 more over the next three seasons with the Packers, with 1½ sacks and six tackles for loss. He's now with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Allen Lazard, 2019

Justin Coleman #27 of the Detroit Lions defends a pass intended for Allen Lazard #13 of the Green Bay Packers during the second half at Lambeau Field on October 14, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

It's hard to believe the Packers' current No. 1 receiver was a roster cut just three years ago. Initially signed off the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad in 2018 (he caught one pass that year for the Packers), Lazard was waived at the end of preseason the next year and joined the Packers practice squad, where he didn't stay for long. He was promoted to the active roster on Sept. 4, and he hasn't looked back. In the last three years, he's appeared in 42 games and caught 109 passes, including 14 for touchdowns. 

Yosh Nijman, 2019

Yosh Nijman is shown during the Green Bay Packers organized team activities (OTA) Tuesday, May 24, 2022 in Green Bay, Wis.

Signed as an intriguing undrafted project in 2019, the 6-foot-7 offensive tackle didn't make the team but joined the practice squad, then briefly came up to the active roster in November before an elbow injury that kept him from even seeing the field. But Nijman played in all 16 games of the 2020 season and then made eight starts with David Bakhtiari sidelined in 2021, and he held his own. Nijman isn't guaranteed to be a starter going forward, but his place on the roster seems secure.

Krys Barnes, 2020

Green Bay Packers linebacker Krys Barnes (51) celebrates recoving a fumble against the Detroit Lions during their football game Monday, September 20, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. 
Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Signed as an undrafted free agent, Barnes had to settle for a practice-squad spot but was promoted in 2020 to the active roster, where the linebacker immediately made his presence felt. In two seasons with the Packers, he's started 23 games, with two sacks, a forced fumble and two recoveries.

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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