Aug 31st is a long ways away still, which means that the cut-down to 75 players is also a long ways away. However, I wanted to share the first output from a grading system I designed which is meant to rank the players during the off-season.
All 79 current players, including Darrell Reid, Ryan Clady and Elvis Dumervil were inputted into it (McKinley was left out), and it churned out numerical grades, between 0.0 and 23.0 for every player. Most of the starters and key backups scored around 15 and higher, while most of the bubble players struggled to approach double digits. I was surprised to find that a few players I thought of as at risk had more or less solidly entrenched themselves through consistency and versatility (such as Nick Griesen who scored a 15.0) .
The factors used to weigh these grades were: Game Performance Trend (Pro only), 2010 Practice Performance Trend, Special Teams Contribution, Starting Trend, Value of Investment, and Lack of Positional Strength and Depth. Most of these are pretty self-explanatory, but her are some quick points: 2010 Practice Performance Trend starts at average for every player, and is adjusted with ABs (atta boys) and HDs (Homer dohs) which were tracked from reputable Training Camp reports. Special Teams Contribution includes both skill at STs work and assignment experience, including in camp. Value of Investment adds a very small percentage of total score, but enough to see a difference between certain players. Lack of Positional Strength and Depth frames how much need the Broncos have for a certain player's skill set. 5 guys competing for one spot is a big difference from 3 guys competing for 2 spots.
Continue below the fold to see the 5 players lowest on the totem pole according to these grades, with some quick commentary...
5. Tony Carter, CB: Last year's practice squad to active roster feel-good story didn't set a good game performance trend, and so far in camp has been making mistakes and failing to stand out for good reasons. Cassius Vaughn is only a fraction of a point behind Carter as well.
4. Patrick Carter/Britt Davis WRs: The new guys haven't had much opportunity for impact, and it shows in their grades. they are pretty much interchangeable at this point, without an in depth analysis to separate one from the other.
3. Jeff Stehle, DL: Competition at his position is strong and deep, and Stehle simply hasn't stood out enough in practice, nor been a contributor on STs.
2. Stanley Daniels, OL: Even if you project Clady to miss the start of the season, there isn't really many openings on the OL at this point. Daniels hasn't got much attention in camp, and what he has received hasn't been positive.
1. Paul Duncan, OL: What do you get when you combine multiple "Reminder Laps," lack of STs contribution and depth at a position? You get Paul Duncan as the #1 bubble player in camp right now.
In no particular order, here are some highlights from the lowest 22 players beyond the 5 listed above. As you know, the 53 man cutdown occurs within days of the 75, so these players should be considered at risk as well:
McCarthy, Fry, Overbay, Barton, Toney Baker, LeKevin Smith, Chris Baker. Also of note is that two highly scoring players, Brandon Lloyd and Matthew Willis appear to be occupying the same spot on the roster. Whereas Lloyd has the quality in-gmae experience, Willis contributes a heck of a lot more to STs.... Should be interesting.