Packers Have One Of Youngest Initial 53-Man Rosters in NFL

Brenton Cox Jr., Lukas Van Ness, Malik Heath, Packers
NFL Analysis Network

Throughout the offseason, it was presumed that the Green Bay Packers would have one of the younger rosters in the NFL once the regular season rolled around. After cut-down day and the waiver period, that fact has been cemented.

The Packers got even younger than anticipated during cut-down day. Punter Pat O’Donnell was the oldest player on the team at 32 years old, but he was released. The team’s new punter is rookie Daniel Whalen, who is only 24. 

That means Green Bay will have rookies at punter, kicker and their holder spot. Anders Carlson, who was picked in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, is the new kicker in place of Mason Crosby. Whelan or rookie fifth-round pick Sean Clifford is the presumed holder as the backup quarterback to Jordan Love.

The oldest player on the roster is now left tackle David Bakhtiari at 31 years old. He is one of only three players in their 30s along with edge rusher Preston Smith and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who are both 30.

The youth movement is fully underway in Green Bay, as the team will be relying on young, inexperienced players at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. Having one of the youngest rosters isn’t a goal that the team had according to general manager Brian Gutekunst. Instead, it was a byproduct of their goal to become athletic and faster.

The Packers have made 24 draft picks in the last two years and 22 of them made the roster. The only two players who didn’t originally were 2023 seventh-rounders, wide receiver Grant DuBose and running back Lew Nichols. DuBose was signed to the practice squad while Nichols was waived/injured.

Two more players from the 2022 draft class were cut loose on Wednesday as converted linebacker Tariq Carpenter and defensive lineman Jonathan Ford were released to make room for waiver claims. Having 20 out of 24 draft picks make the roster is still a very impressive feat for the Packers, who are hoping their young players can develop into long-term pieces.

However, their draft haul from the 2023 class should also include the three undrafted players who made the roster. Wide receiver Malik Heath, running back Emanuel Wilson and edge rusher Brenton Cox Jr. all had excellent training camps and preseason performances to force their way onto the 53-man roster.