The last time we got together, I tried to show how difficult making the final cuts can be. Coaches look at talent, behavior, attitude, injuries, finances and potential to make the difficult cuts. We used a defensive depth chart as a model, and looked at some of the decisions to be made.
Now let's take up. By looking at a potential depth for the Broncos in '08, we see just how hard the process gets. Remember that we took 25 guys on defense (my arbitrary number), 3 for STs (a K, P, and LS), and are now left with 25 spots for the offense.
I included all of our rookies, one UFA that I think stands a fair chance of making the team, and a host of players from last year and FA. I tried to include names that I felt had a reasonable chance to make the team (and I know there are sharp minds out there that might see a UFA or two that I missed that might differ with me).
Take a look at the chart below (which has 31 names on it) and tell us which six players you would cut and why. (It's an opinion pop quiz, so you score an A+ just for playing!)
There are much tougher calls on our dep offense, and some of the cuts will be very difficult. Read more...
Maybe a few names jump out that you feel we can knock down. But past that, it's a tricky proposition. I'll share my thoughts, and feel free to support or tear down my thinking. It's all in good fun. I'm really curious to hear what some of you would do. Remember, there's no right or wrong. I'm no more a judge of NFL talent than anyone else. In fact, I know we have some college football watchers and some terrific amatuer scouts who have a great eye for talent.
Perhaps I left off a name or two? JonahSilas is writing a great series called "Why He'll Make the Team", which advocates for UFAs that you may not have taken a close enough look at. Or maybe you disagree with my cuts. Share your thoughts! I wouldn't ask you to do anything I wouldn't do, so here's my thoughts.
Right of the bat, I call Mike Bell into the coach's office. We have two solid FBs in Sapp and Hillis, and at least five solid RBs in Young, Pittman, Hall, Torain, and Aldridge. Bell has a future somewhere else, but Denver is too full at HB and FB. Five names to go.
The next name that isn't too hard (for me) is Martinez. With Royal, we hope we've found magic at PR. We also still have several players left that can play at #2 or slot, and Martinez isn't one of them. His best shot of beating out someone, say Parker, is that he is young enough to grow into a better WR, and he can back-up at PR. But as a WR, he is outclassed by everyone else on the depth chart. Maybe he accepts a practice squad spot, but with our depth I don't think we even offer that. Four names to go.
Shanny doesn't carry three QBs most years. Hackney has a lot of potential, but has been in a little trouble. That's not something we can afford (let's say, a DUI arrest the day before a game). Ramsey doesn't have the potential of Hackney, but can hold his own by managing an offense for part of a game, and is a good mentor (solid guy) for Cutler to go to. Hackney definitely gets a practice squad chance. But I still have three names left!
So much talent and potential on the OL, but nine names? Someone has to go. If Harris was the star that we had hoped he would be, we wouldn't bring in a rookie to start at LT, and be moving Kuper to RT. Harris deserves a practice squad nod, while Pears plays back-up to the tackles. K-Stieger stays on the chart as a back-up guard, but will be groomed to take over when Nalen and Wiegmann move on. Are there two more names I can drop off?
We have two star TEs in Graham and Scheff. We like to keep four TEs, but we must find two more names, and most of the players left could be starters on this team. Neither Mustard nor Jackson are starting material. But we need at least one back-up, because we will play quite a few two-TE sets through the year. I think Mustard is more balanced. He blocks much, much better than Jackson, and showed at the end of last year that he has some pretty decent hands. Jackson is a converted receiver, but never was a solid blocker. Jackson visits the coach's office. I think he's been on the bubble in the past, so he isn't surprised. One to go.
Man, we have a lot of RBs and WRs. Of the remaining WRs, I just can't part with anyone. Marsh is a starter at #1, and Jackson and Colbert are solid enough to play at #2. The other one makes a great back-up. Stokley is a great slot, and Royal is probably our future at slot, and our projected starting PR. Parker has the speed and experience to be a great back-up as well, in case two WRs get hurt, and could play as #4.
But you don't need the number of back-ups at HB that you need at WR. There are three main WR positions, but only one HB position. You need a couple of guys for a committee scheme, and at least two back-ups. Uh-oh; someone is hitting the FA market.
Young is a projected starter, so he's safe. Pittman is my early guess at spell or rotation. Torain is the one, solid power runner on the team. Hall put up good numbers last year in limited time, and can play at KR. He also has good speed. Aldridge (bless his little UFA heart) makes my list because he is the UFA that not only stands out to me, but I think we rarely miss picking HBs. Who goes?
Hall. He gets injured if he is used to much, and he may have trade value (even if it is late round). And in my mind, there is too much upside to the other guys at HB.
Young may be the best of the bunch. Pittman is nearly an H-Back by talent. Torain is valuable as our one, true power HB. And I believe Aldridge has potential, and I believe he's hungry. Call it an old coach's gut feeling, because there are plenty of very smart arguments against keeping him over Hall.
In fact, there are a lot of great arguments against any of my cuts. What are your thoughts? Who would you keep, who would you cut, and why?
HT's depth chart after roster cuts:
It's the very first MHR University Quiz, so give it a try!
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