There has been a lot of speculation regarding numbers and what the final 53 man roster may look like. Though it is still a LONG way to go and NOTHING is set in stone, Andrew Mason expects the 4th WR slot to be won by either Andre "Bubba" Caldwell or Greg Orton.
Expect it to be Orton or Caldwell. RT @hawkswag27: who do you think has the upper hand at the 4th WR spot?— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) June 15, 2013
Now, how do I come up with the magical number of 6?
DT, Decker, and Welker are absolute locks for the top three WR spots. Tavarres King who is the Broncos 5th round draft pick at WR will stick to the roster based on the fact...well, he's a rookie. The Elway regime in Denver will absolutely not cut any rookie. Mike Mohamed, drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 draft is the closest example as he was waived after TC in 2011. He was ultimately placed on the Broncos practice squad once he cleared waivers. He survived until being released early last season.
Some may say Elway is partial to his guys. That may be a correct conclusion with incorrect reasoning. The Elway philosophy thus far can be summed up by one word: patience. Therefore don't expect Tavarres King to get his walking papers anytime soon.
Expect him to make the 53-man roster, but this offense is a bear to learn. He's doing well, but needs time. RT @mark_mac18: No King?— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) June 15, 2013
So who is the 6th WR you may ask?
Trindon Holliday. This was his positional designation last season, though we all know he was primarily a KR/PR specialist who also got a few snaps out of the backfield as a receiving threat. Holliday is too explosive to be cut (fumble issues aside) and while the Broncos use for him much like other players such as Shaun Phillips, Von Miller, and Jacob Hester may far exceed their job description, the label is inconsequential.
Do I think Holliday will see significant time at WR? Nope. Do I think his skillset can be utilized in that role to provide a homerun threat for a handful of offensive snaps per game? Yep.
The main consensus regarding Bubba Caldwell was that his lack of playing time last year was due to the difficulty he had in grasping the mental aspects of the Manning passing game. Year 2 shouldn't be so difficult and his speed and big play ability are something the Broncos can utilize. By all accounts WR Greg Orton--who has spent the past couple of seasons on the Broncos practice squad, has had an excellent showing thus far in OTA's and minicamp.
While the battle between Caldwell and Orton may be one to watch during TC, don't expect any 4th receiving option to garner many targets.
As Topher Doll and WillyBFree2Bronc pointed out yesterday, the WR's past the 3rd option (in this case Wes Welker) do not get many targets at all:
Since Peyton almost never targets anyone outside his top 3 (On average all other receivers on his team average a total of 22 catches per season combined) so anyone can really do that role, whether that be Caldwell, Orton, or one of the other guys.
Bubba Caldwell had 1 (reception), Mathew Willis had 10, and Trindon Holliday had 2. That makes 13 (receptions) to the #4-6 receivers.
Putting all of that together here is your WR pecking order going into TC:
This also has implications for the rest of the offensive numbers. Assuming the Broncos keep 6 "WR", that leaves 19 spots open for 5 other position groups. It may be a forgone conclusion (even though I hate the thought) that the Broncos keep 3 QB's due to Zac Dysert being nearly impossible to stash on the practice squad. He may only be a 7th round pick but the Broncos may be weary of chancing the waiver game. Therefore you have to reclaim those numbers somewhere else.
Do the Broncos keep 4 RB's (including Hester who is listed at FB)? Do the Broncos keep only 3 TE's? Do they keep 8 OL? 9 seems like a better number to me due to all of the injuries we have at that position group. If we can pencil in 3 QB's and 6 WR right now, here's how the other positions might shake out:
3 QB, 6 WR, 4 RB, 1 FB, 3 TE, 8 OL (25)
3 QB, 6 WR, 3 RB, 1 FB, 4 TE, 8 OL (25)
3 QB, 6WR, 3 RB, 1 FB, 3 TE, 9 OL (25)
Time will tell, but much like the battle in the Broncos defensive backfield, the offense should see some very interesting and compelling battles come TC.
What are your thoughts MHR?