Denver Broncos Countdown to Kickoff: 71 Days

Well, since the 1971 Broncos also sucked, I figured it would be a better idea to come up with an All-Time Broncos Depth chart/53 man roster. This was a lot of fun to do and should spark some good debate!

Offense

POS

Starter

2nd

3rd

4th

#

QB

J. Elway

P. Manning

---

---

2

HB

T. Davis

F. Little

C. Portis

S. Winder

4

FB

H. Griffith

---

---

---

1

TE

S. Sharpe

R. Odoms

---

---

2

#1 WR

D. Thomas

R. Smith

R. Upchurch

---

---

#2 WR

E. McCaffrey

E. Decker

S. Watson

---

---

Slot

B. Stokley

V. Johnson

---

---

8

LT

R. Clady

D. Studdard

---

---

---

LG

M. Schlereth

---

---

---

---

C

T. Nalen

Dave Widell

---

---

---

RG

K. Bishop

---

---

---

---

RT

K. Lanier

---

---

---

7

Totals

---

---

---

---

24

Thinking about it schematically, this team will run a lot of formations out of two-back sets and 3-WR sets. Why? Because I envision Elway and Manning trading possessions that's why;) Could you imagine the kind of hell these two different approaches would be to defend?

QB:

There only needs to be two when the two you have are two of the GOAT. Elway v. Manning would be one hell of a Training Camp battle if it ever happened. In the end, gotta give the nod to #7--how would you like to have Peyton Manning as your backup?

HB:

A 1-2 punch of TD and Floyd Little is just what Bronco Mike ordered. Add to that some nice change of pace in Clinton Portis and some steady depth from Sammy Winder, and you have a very deep four.

FB:

The greatest FB in Broncos history doesn't need no stinkin' competition

WR:

Gonna do something weird and keep 8. These 8 are the best of the best as I see it. If you wanted a big only combination, you could go with Thomas and Watson on the outside (Watson was 6'4"). Hell, why not throw Thomas, Eddy Mac, and Rod Smith out there with Smith being in the slot? How about a four wide set with DT, Rod, Decker, and McCaffrey? Lots of interesting combinations. Vance Johnson was a fast little guy (5'11", 185) that would project nicely into the slot in today's game.

TE:

Only kept two here because 1) these were the greatest TE's in Broncos history, 2) both could catch and block. You could use either interchangeably. In fact, wouldn't a killer goalline package feature TD, Sharpe, Odoms, DT, and Decker?

O-Line:

This line I'm confident in saying would be best suited for a zone blocking scheme. Only Ryan Clady would be over 300 lbs and we all know he is as athletic as they come. The reason why I only keep 7 here, Studdard can swing and play either LT or RT, and Dave Widell spent most of his career at C with some time at guard. From two backups, you have five positions covered. Plus, you know, not like Bronco Mike is concerned about injury!

Total it up and I have 24 on offense.

Defense

POS

Starter

2nd

3rd

Total

RDE

T. Pryce

R. Jones

---

---

DT

R. Carter

G. Kragen

M. Tanuvasa

---

LDE

B. Chavous

R. Jackson

---

7

OLB

V. Miller

E. Dumervil

---

---

OLB

S. Fletcher

K. Mecklenburg

---

---

MLB

R. Gradishar

B. Romanowski

---

---

MLB

A. Wilson

T. Jackson

---

8

CB 1

C. Bailey

M. Harden

---

---

CB 2

L. Wright

R. Crockett

---

---

CB 3

C. Harris

S. Foley

---

6

FS

S. Atwater

G. Gonsoulin

---

---

SS

B. Thompson

D. Smith

T. Braxton

5

Totals

---

---

---

26

Want to talk about scheme versatility? This defense could play any conceivable front and variation imaginable and be absolutely killer at any of them. I foresee my all time depth chart/defense utilizing the 3-4 as it's base, with the ability to switch into a 4-3 under or standard 4-3 at a moments notice.

DE

In a 3-4 Trevor Pryce would be tailor made for either spot and he could provide some pass rushing capability to go along wtht it. Same thing on the other side with all time great Barney Chavous. Want to flex into a 4-3? Kick Pryce inside with Maa Tanuvasa and have Von Miller and Simon Fletcher come up and play DE.

OLB

The greatest pass rushing pair in Broncos history comes to fruition with Von Miller and Simon Fletcher. Not to mention they have guys like Karl Mecklenburg and Elvis Dumervil as their backups. All four of these guys could also play the rush end spots giving he Broncos D ultimate flexibility in disguising fronts.

ILB

Randy Gradishar and Al Wilson. An ILB match made in heaven. I move T. Jackson here though he could play inside or outside in this scheme. In fact, in a 5-2 defense, I foresee Tom Jackson as our "Monster" player. I throw Romanowski in there because the dude was nuts and that's exactly what you want from a MLB. Theoretically he could also play either outside spot in the 4-3.

CB

Two shutdown corners of their time side by side in Champ and Louis Wright. The interesting guy here is Steve Foley who was one hell of a cover corner. I think he could be depth at either spot as well as covering the slot. He might even be the "TE Killer" in big nickel or dime situations. 44 career interceptions is nothing to scoff at.

S

Pair up a big hitting free safety with a ball-hawking strong safety and you have a recipe for big plays in the Broncos secondary. Tyrone Braxton is interesting as well because he played both corner and safety giving the Broncos D the same sort of ultimate flexibility on the back end.

Specialists

K Jason Elam

Greatest Bronco kicker of all time.

Honorable Mention: Rich Karlis

Gotta love a guy that kicked barefoot!

P Mike Horan

I always liked Mike on those 80's early 90's teams. Plus he had the mustache thing going for him

Honorable Mention: Tom Rouen

LS Mike Leach

Because Josh McDaniels is a douchebag

Hope you enjoyed my take on the Broncos all time 53-man roster/depth chart. What's yours? What would you change?

Please discuss, make fun of, or otherwise obliterate my take while taking the time to come up with yours--trust me, it's a lot of fun!

KR/PR Rick Upchurch (listed at WR)

Epic mistake on my part not including him in the original chart. He takes Haven Moses spot on the final 53.

Cool 1971 Factoid:

The Broncos played eventual AFC Super Bowl representative Miami Dolphins to a 10-10 tie on opening day. This was the infamous "Half a Loaf" game where head coach Lou Saban had his offense run out the clock in a tie ball game rather than trying to score for the win.

Thanks db8632 for bringing this to my attention!

Notable Broncos to wear #71

Claudie Minor 1974-1982

Greg Kragen 1985-1993

Current Bronco wearing #71

Paul Cornick

Read More: Denver Broncos by the Numbers: #71 (Kaptain Kirk)

Read More: Countdown To Kickoff: 72 Days, What makes a player Great?

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