In anticipation of the relatively meaningless advent of the upcoming Broncos vs. Bengals depth chart, I thought I would take a quick look and throw out some guesses as to the lineup we can expect, while inviting you to share your thoughts on the subject as well.
The typical caveats apply: nothing is set in stone, the situation is fluid, it's only preseason, no guarantee is expressed or implied, your mileage may vary, yada, yada, yada...
For me this is an exercise in "stock valuation," and providing a first quarter preseason snapshot of rising and falling stock across the team. I can't say that my personal depth chart is loaded with fantastic surprises that stagger the imagination, but I'm sure some of you will pick up the slack in that category.
The list is after the jump. See you on the other side.
*All positions are listed in descending order from '1st string.'
QBS: Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow
-I suppose the real argument here might be whether Tebow has moved up to #2 ahead of Quinn...I'm o fthe mind that that moment will come soon enough, but it isn't here yet.
RBs: Lance Ball, Bruce Hall, Toney Baker, LenDale White, Correll Buckhalter, Knowshon Moreno
-With Buck and Knowmo likely sitting this one out there really isn't a lot of suspense here. White hasn't practiced since he went out of practice with what seemed like muscle cramps, so really we could see a lot of action from Ball, Hall and Baker, with FBs getting a few reps as well. I've listed them in order of quality experience here, which aligns well with my personal fave of the group, Lance Ball.
FBs: Spencer Larsen
-Except for the fact that Larsen will probably see more carries this preseason than he will for the rest of his career, nothing too special going on here. I expect Branson to get reps back there as well of course, but I am listing him as a TE for this exercise.
WRs: #1: Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd, Alric Arnett, Demaryius Thomas
#2: Eddie Royal, Matthew Willis, Patrick Carter, Britt Davis, Eric Decker
Slot: Brandon Stokley
-I expect to catch a lot of flak for this arrangement, but allow me to explain my reasoning. First of all,I have Decker and Thomas sitting this game out, just to be safe, though Thomas might be a go. I would put Royal at starting slot and Lloyd at starting #2, but Lloyd is still nursing his hamstring, and so he may not be a full go, so I have Royal taking the lead for the #2 with Stokes taking the starting slot for now. Willis is the backup #2, but I would list him as a backup slot as well, just because his overall performance merits a solid spot on the depth chart. Everyone else is in no particular order or place, though I would list Arnett ahead of both the new guys, if only barely.
TEs: Daniel Graham, Richard Quinn, Marquez Branson, Riar Geer, Nathan Overbay
-Nothing amazing here, just a note that Overbay is the "pricier" stock, but I think Geer has been messing up less and so gets a boost on the list for being more consistent, if not flashy.
RT: Ryan Harris, Kirk Barton, Paul Duncan
-Pretty normal, I think.
RG: Chris Kuper, Eric Olsen
-Kuper is dinged, but I think he gives it a go. I think it is a toss-up with Hochstein and Olsen as far as 2nd string C and RG go, but I am listing the more conservative variation with the rookie at RG.
C: J.D. Walton, Russ Hochstein, Dustin Fry
-This is the conservative lineup, since J.D. shows no signs of giving up the job. Fry could be an early cut.
LG: Zane Beadles, Seth Olsen, Stanley Daniels
-So far I am liking the first string lineup. Nothing shocking here.
LT: D'Anthony Batiste, Tyler Polumbus, Ryan Clady
-I think Batiste has moved ahead of Polumbus.
RDE: Jarvis Green, Ryan McBean, Le Kevin Smith
-I know, I know, "Jarvis is the 3rd down specialist!" Again, I tend to take a conservative stance, and the longtime vet gets the nod over the young guy. Either way, nice depth here.
NT: Jamal Williams, Ronald Fields, Chris Baker
-Just as I said in my DL breakdown, I expect that Williams will make his impact felt early, and Fields will rotate in liberally, so I would be more likely to list Williams and Fields as 1A and 1B.
LDE: Justin Bannan, Marcus Thomas, Ben Garland
-Nothing shocking here.
ROLB: Robert Ayers, Jammie Kirlew, Kevin Alexander, Jarvis Moss, Elvis Dumervil
-Interesting twist, I have Ayers getting first dibs on replacing Doom's production. Moss will be clubbing away with the second unit in a few weeks, building up more confidence.
RILB: D.J. Williams, Joe Mays, Nick Greisen
-Once again, nothing shocking. Mays is looking like a smart acquisition.
LILB: Wesley Woodyard, Akin Ayodele, Devin Bishop
-I love typing in Woodyard as a starter...
LOLB: Mario Haggan, Baraka Atkins, Darrell Reid
-Haggan's demeanor, size and physicality will be assets on the strongside. I'd rather see him stay in the middle, but this is the next best thing.
RCB: Andre Goodman, Alphonso Smith, Syd'Quan Thompson, Tony Carter
-Nothing to amazing here, I have Syd'quan ahead of Carter based on ceilings as I see them, but I'm not married to the idea.
LCB: Champ Bailey, Perrish Cox, Cassius Vaughn
-Is Cox looking good or what? My grade for him was 2nd round, and lots of people thought 1st round. I am still amazed at what a steal he was, moreso than most of the DB steals in the deep 2010 class.
NCB: Nate Jones
-Admittedly, the Broncos won't be getting this specific. I think their chart will list Jones as the #2 RCB and Phonz as the #2 LCB
SS: Renaldo Hill, David Bruton
-Mark it down and lock the catbox. This particular position won't change for the rest of the year, barring (shudder) injury.
FS: Brian Dawkins, Darcel McBath, Kyle McCarthy
-I want to cry tears of joy when I think how much better our safety depth has gotten over the last two years.
Pretty conservative overall, I admit that. Who do you got?