All told, the Packers chose to keep all eight of their rookie draft picks, including running back Dexter Williams. The sixth-round pick was locked in one of the tightest roster battles with Tra Carson for the No. 3 job at running back.
What gave Williams the edge was a “unique skillset” and intriguing acceleration to be a potential difference-maker down the line for the offense. At the same time, Gutekunst was happy to retain Carson on the practice squad.
Defensively, the Packers opted to stay in-house at the inside linebacker position by retaining rookie seventh-round pick Ty Summers and James Crawford behind Blake Martinez and Oren Burks.
Gutekunst said he’s hopeful the Packers will get Burks “back here soon” after the 2018 third-round pick received good news recently with his chest injury.
The decision to not seek an outside option in the interim came down to the Packers liking how Summers responded to adversity early in the preseason and also how much defensive coordinator Mike Pettine uses a hybrid safety in his sub-packages.
To that end, Green Bay kept 11 defensive backs on the roster, the fifth consecutive year the Packers have retained at least 11 players in the secondary.
“Obviously, Ty had a really good preseason and kind of stepped up and made us feel pretty comfortable about keeping him around,” Gutekunst said. “I also think if you look at our history, the amount of times we actually have two inside linebackers on the field is another thing.”
Second-year cornerback Chandon Sullivan, signed off the street in May, was one of five former undrafted defensive backs to survive the weekend.
A rangy, ball-hawking cornerback who also can play safety, Sullivan had 17 tackles, five passes defensed and an interception in four preseason games. Still, that didn’t help him sleep any easier leading up to the 3 p.m. CT deadline Saturday for all NFL teams to reduce their rosters from 90 to 53.
It wasn’t until Sullivan received a call from position coach Jason Simmons roughly an hour after the deadline he finally felt at ease.
‘He was like, ‘Hey Sully, you know who this is?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, Coach. I talk to you every day. I know your voice,’” said Sullivan, laughing. “I was definitely happy, excited. That’s what I shot for since I got here in May. But I’m not satisfied. I’m not happy. I want to continue to work and continue to get better and prove my worth.”