Projecting the Denver Broncos 53-man roster: Part 2

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

In Part 1, I treated the depth chart as if I were the one pulling the strings. The result was a team I molded from all available players on the current roster. Today I'm going to approach the exercise as if I'm the Denver Broncos. Using some of the tendencies from years past, I will attempt to predict the Broncos 53-man roster from the "Denver Bronco" point of view.

Tendencies

Position

2011

2012

2013

QB

3

3

3

HB/FB

3/1

4/1

4/1

TE

3

3

4

WR

5

5

5

OL

9

9

9

DL

10

8

8

LB

7

7

5

CB

4

5

6

S

5

5

5

Specials

3

3

3

Total

53

53

53

Each season the Broncos have taken the same amount of WR's, OL, and QB's to the final 53-man roster.  I'm going to stick with that here. With the absence of a FB who has no place on the Manning offense, you can all but guarantee them to take 4 TE's to the active roster.  In 2011 and 2012 when they took 3 TE's, the other spot was reserved by a FB.  Staying with trends on offense, you can expect the Broncos to take 4 RB's to the final 53-man roster.  We are done with offense, here is the breakdown:

3 QB, 4 RB, 5 WR, 4 TE, 9 OL = 25 Total

On defense, a versatile front 7 has seen the Broncos take 8 DL to the 53-man roster the past two seasons.  Last year was an anomaly at linebacker with the suspension of Von Miller and the versatility of hybrid DE/OLB Shaun Phillips.  Expect DeMarcus Ware to play the RDE spot almost exclusively, so we will revert to 2010-2011 when they kept 7 LB's.  When we make it to the defensive backfield, the Broncos have taken 5 safeties to the 53-man roster each year.  I'm going to take the middle ground when it comes to corners and keep 5.  The breakdown for the defense is as follows:

4 DT, 4 DE, 7 LB, 5 CB, 5 S = 25 Total

Now that I have a framework based on historical trends under John Fox, here are my predictions for the Denver Broncos final 53-man roster chosen from the current collection of players.

Offense

Position

Starter

Backup

3rd

Other

QB

18 Manning

17 Osweiler

9 Renner

---

RB

28 Ball

22 Anderson

23 Hillman

35 Bibbs

WR 1

88 D. Thomas

12 Caldwell

---

---

WR 2

10 Sanders

14 Latimer

---

---

WR 3

83 Welker

---

---

---

TE 1

80 J. Thomas

84 Tamme

---

---

TE 2

85 Green

81 Dreessen

---

---

LT

78 Clady

---

---

---

LG

74 Franklin

---

---

---

C

66 Ramirez

---

---

---

RG

65 Vasquez

---

---

---

RT

75 Clark

---

---

---

Reserve OL

79 Schofield

61 Paradis

70 Painter

64 Montgomery

QB: When I read reports about Zac Dysert and Bryn Renner, I see the gunslinger vs. the game-manager.  Renner will do everything clean and will look good on the practice field.  Dysert struggled throughout camp last year but flashes in game situations.  When it comes to limited reps and the 3rd QB position, I give the nod to the guy who is most likely to look the best when things are scripted and that will be Renner.

HB: No change here.  Hillman however disappointing, gives the Broncos a different runner than the other UDFA's.  If he shows consistency when handling the ball he will make the team.  Bibbs continues to strike out to me as a workhorse, someone who has experience and the traits necessary to beat out less experienced competition.

WR: Sorry Burse fans, Sanders can return the rock.  Caldwell is far too important in terms of depth and skillset to send packing over a diminutive returner.  No way Latimer gets the boot after the Broncos move up in the 2nd round for him.

TE: I believe given the option of a healthy Dreessen and healthy Tamme, the Broncos keep both.  They may approach either or both to restructure, but I would not be the least bit surprised if they kept the lineup the same as last season.

OL: No starter from last year will be cut.  I'm sure of that.  I'm also sure that neither draft pick from this season will be cut--both provide versatile depth along the interior with Schofield having the ability to play inside and outside.  The Broncos liked Painter enough to carry him to the 53-man roster after SF showed interest last year.  I think an offseason allows him to take the mantle of backup swing tackle.  Will Montgomery provides further depth at G/C.  From these four players, two can play center, two can play guard, and two can play tackle.  Depth along the OL has become a strength.

Defense

Position

Starter

Backup

3rd

Other

Rush DE

94 Ware

93 Smith

---

---

Closed DE

95 Wolfe

97 Jackson

---

---

UT

92 Williams

96 Unrein

---

---

NT

98 Knighton

99 Vickerson

---

---

SAM

58 Miller

48 Barrett

---

---

MIKE

56 Irving

57 Barrow

53 Johnson

---

WILL

59 Trevathan

47 Nelson

---

---

CB 1

21 Talib

29 Roby

---

---

CB 2

25 Harris Jr.

36 Webster

32 Carter

---

FS

26 Moore

30 Bruton

38 Carter

---

SS

43 Ward

27 Ihenacho

---

---

DT: The situation will remain unchanged.  Despite the competition from Austin and Fua, this tried and true group of tackles remains together for a second straight season.

DE: I would be surprised if the lineup shook out any differently.

LB: Shaq Barrett beats out Larentee McCray for the backup SAM spot, Irving is your 1st/2nd down Mike, Barrow your 3rd down nickel MIKE, and 7th round pick Cory Nelson shows enough range and athleticism to back up Danny Trevathan.  Due do his exceptional special teams contribution, Steven Johnson sticks as your 7th LB.

CB: The top 4 are all but set.  Tony Carter earns the 5th and final spot.

S: A healthy Quinton Carter makes the final safety spot an easy call. Carter can play both strong and free safety and could give the Broncos an unexpected playmaker in big nickel, and dime packages.

Specialists

K Matt "Money from 40" Prater

P Britton "You only kick twice" Colquitt

LS Aaron "my job is easier than collecting unemployment" Brewer

Wrap-Up:

The final 53-man roster might look a bit different as players are released and signed prior to Training Camp.  As it stands now however, this 53-man roster is about the closest I can get to projecting what the Broncos would do with this cast of characters.

Three and a half months from now it will be interesting to compare this projection with the actual outcome.

Do you think the Denver Broncos would do anything differently than what I presented?

GO BRONCOS!!!

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