53. That's our magic number. However we get there we cannot have less than or more than 53 players. Take away 4 spots for the specialists (Brewer, Colquitt, Prater, Holliday), that leaves you 49.
There are a few questions we have to ask here, mainly, 2 or 3 QB's, 3 or 4 TE's, 8 or 9 OL? We will assume that the number for RB's and WR's will not change at 4 and 5 respectively.
Our max number either way will be 24 total players. Our luxury number will be 23.
Here's a couple of different scenarios to think about as camp plays out.
Manning and Osweiler. With the poor play of Dysert, he can probably be stashed on the practice squad no problem. With 4 RB's and 5 WR's respectively, that gives us 11. To hit our luxury number of 23, we have 12 spots open, to hit our max number of 24 we have 13 spots open.
To hit 23 you can keep 4 TE, and 8 OL OR 3 TE and 9 OL
To hit 24 you can keep 4 TE, 9 OL
Let's assume Dysert is an Elway guy and Elway won't want to risk putting him through waiver claims. Lame, but ok. You now have 3 QB's, 4 RB's, and 5 WR's. That gives you 12, which means we have 11 spots to reach our luxury number of 23 and 12 spots to reach our max number of 24.
To hit 23 you can keep 3 TE's and 8 OL
To hit 24 you can keep 3 TE's and 9 OL or 4 TE's and 8 OL
Taking 2 QB's to the active roster gives you the most flexibility as you can still keep 4TE's and 9OL in order to hit that max number. If you shoot for 23 however, you have to ask yourself which is more important--a 4th TE or a 9th OL?
With 3 QB's it almost takes that luxury number out of the equation as you have to keep only 3 TE's and 8OL, which given our injury situations at both positions isn't the best idea. When you shoot for 24, it still leaves you the question of whether or not that 4th TE or 9th OL is more valuable to the team.
Position Battles to look for:
- The progression/improvement of Dysert
- One of Hester, Johnson, Anderson, L. Ball at RB
- One of Caldwell, Orton, Robinson, McDuffie at WR
- Potentially one of Green/Peterson/O'Connell at TE
- 2 or 3 of Blake, Saulsberry, Davis, Vallos, Lilja, Painter
25 is the minimum with 26 being a luxury if the offense only keeps 23. Seems to be a more likely scenario to go with 25. Here, I think things are more clear cut: 10 DB's, 8 DL, 7 LB's.
Slightly different approach here so let's just list each major position group along with projected spots.
(Vickerson, Knighton, Williams, Unrein)
(Wolfe, Ayers, Smith, Jackson)
(Miller, Phillips, Irving, Johnson, Stewart, Woodyard, Trevathan)
Locks at this point are Champ, DRC, Harris, Carter, Webster, Moore, Bruton. If we are keeping 5 and 5, Bolden is the odd man out and we can probably expect Moore, Ihenacho, Bruton, Adams and one of Jammer/Q. Carter. If the split goes 6/4, you have to figure Moore, Ihenacho, and Bruton make it with one of Adams/Jammer/Q.Carter.
Having guys like Von Miller and Shaun Phillips on your team automatically gives you more flexibility along the D-line. You still have to account for base downs with the starting tandem of Wolfe and Ayers, but it helps that both the SLB's can step in those roles in pass rushing situations. Similar dynamic from other guys like Wolfe and Jackson who can kick inside. If there was going to be a surprise cut, it might come from this group especially with all the flexibility they possess.
LB should be pretty set as far as who will make the team even if the pecking order in the middle will take longer to resolve. 7 is a good number here.
Position Battles to look for:
- Siliga v. Unrein
- Beal v. Jackson
- Irving v. Bradley v. Johnson
- Carter v. Bolden v. Webster
- Jammer v. Adams v. Q. Carter