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Denver Broncos 2011 Roster Projections

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Even though the Lockout is ongoing and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement has yet to be signed, there are holes in the Denver Broncos roster that need filling. The glaring need is at Defensive Tackle of course, but if we can ease away from the quarterback speculation and discuss the remaining 50 roster spots, we should be able to narrow things down. In a normal situation, all NFL team rosters would be limited to no more than 80 players. It has been suggested that Training Camps will begin with an increased roster this year because of the short off-season. With that in mind, we will use 90 players as the working model. Let's just take a peek at the things we know right now. Ready...Jump.

Last season, there were 77 players practicing at the onset of Training Camp. Darrell Reid and Jamal Williams were on the Active PUP List, and Ryan Clady was on the Non-Football Injury List bringing us up to the 80 player limit. The chart below shows the number of players at each position at the beginning of Camp. The Final numbers are what we should expect this season. I left one open spot on each unit for shoring up a positional weakness or give a Special Teamer a roster spot.

Position Invited Final
Quarterbacks  3 3
Running Backs  7 5
Wide Receivers  10 6
Tight Ends  5 3
Offensive Linemen 13 7
      
Defensive Linemen  9 8
Linebackers 13 6
Defensive Backs 14 10
     
Specialists  3 3
Total 77 51



Quarterback - With John Fox's statement that there will be an open competition at this position, there won't be a 4th quarterback invited to Camp. 

Kyle Orton
Tim Tebow
Brady Quinn

Running Back 
- We know that the Broncos are interested in a Free Agent Running Back. Count on at least one veteran Free Agent, (Let's say two) and two Undrafted Free Agents (UFA's) added to this list. Spencer Larsen is the only Fullback, so one of the pickups should have versatility at least. It may seem like a lot of bodies for this position, but if the Running game is to be emphasized as much as EFX says, quality depth will be required.


Knowshon Moreno
Correll Buckhalter
Lance Ball
LenDale White
Kyle Eckel

Jeremiah Johnson
Spencer Larsen

Brandon Minor
Mike McLaughlin


Wide Receiver - I see room for two UFA's here. There will be an evaluation on Demaryius Thomas' injury rehab at the earliest possible time, so that the team can make the decision to PUP him before Training Camp or leave him on the roster through Camp. If Bey Bey goes on the PUP prior to Training Camp, look for another body here.

 
Brandon Lloyd
Jabar Gaffney
Eddie Royal
Eric Decker
Matthew Willis
Britt Davis
Eron Riley
Demaryius Thomas


Tight End 
- This is where that extra wild card spot may come into play in the final roster. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who believes the Broncos are likely to keep four Tight Ends. It's also possible that one Tight End makes the roster at the expense of a Wide Receiver. Not only that, but a versatile Fullback/H-Back type could fill a need for another blocker in the backfield. My reasoning for that thought is because Denver is planning to run a lot more this year. If that is true, the Wide Receiver position will be less prone to injury, thereby making the need to keep an extra man in another position. Tight End is also a good position to grab Special Teams players from too. Just something to keep in mind.

Richard Quinn
Dan Gronkowski
Daniel Coats
Virgil Green
Julius Thomas

 
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN - There are currently 13 Linemen on the roster. That is the same number that Denver brought to Training Camp last season. There is room to add another Tackle (or re-sign Ryan Harris). Keep in mind, the Broncos will only keep 7 or 8 Linemen.

Right Tackle

Orlando Franklin
Herb Taylor

Right Guard


Chris Kuper

Stanley Daniels
Shawn Murphy


Center


JD Walton
Russ Hochstein
Jeff Byers


Left Guard


Zane Beadles
Eric Olsen
Manny Ramirez


Left Tackle

Ryan Clady
Chris Clark

By my count, that's 38 players so far. Bringing in the seven I suggested makes 45. We're halfway there. Now for the Defense.



DEFENSIVE LINE - Moving back to the 4-3 will change the personnel dynamic between the Linemen and Linebackers. Last season, the Broncos naturally kept more Linebackers. The number of Linemen kept will change to 8 from the 6 that were kept last year. As you can see, there are plenty of Defensive Ends and not enough Tackles. Between both veteran and Undrafted Free Agents, I can see at least 6 players being added at the very least. Marcus Thomas and Ryan McBean are Free Agents that also need to be re-signed or replaced.


Right Defensive End

Elvis Dumervil
David Veikune
Jeremy Beal


Right Defensive Tackle

Kevin Vickerson


Left Defensive Tackle

Louis Leonard


Left Defensive End

Robert Ayers
Jason Hunter
Mario Haggan
Mitch Unrein


LINEBACKERS - With 3 full units already on the roster, this position looks ready for Camp. Because RFA Wesley Woodyard could stay or go, I would invite an Undrafted Free Agent here, but with 3 Draft picks expected to make the roster, that only leaves 3-4 spots left


Right Outside Linebacker (WILL)

DJ Williams
Dominic Douglas
Lee Robinson

Middle Linebacker (MIKE)

Joe Mays
Nate Irving
Mike Mohamed


Left Outside Linebacker (SAM)

Von Miller
Wesley Woodyard*
Braxton Kelley


DEFENSIVE BACKS - Last season the Broncos kept five Corners and 5 Safeties. With seven Cornerbacks on the roster, one more body should be invited to Camp. Eight Safeties is probably enough, since two are draft picks. One question could be, where will the Broncos keep that wild card spot on Defense? On the Line, at Linebacker or Defensive Back.


Right Cornerback

Perrish Cox
Andre' Goodman
Nate Jones
Cassius Vaughn

Left Cornerback

Champ Bailey
Syd'Quan Thompson
Chevis Jackson

Strong Safety

Renaldo Hill
David Bruton
Quinton Carter
Kyle McCarthy
Nick Polk

Free Safety

Brian Dawkins
Darcel McBath

Rahim Moore


SPECIAL TEAMS - In 2010, there wasn't a competition, the jobs were handed out freely. Depending on how the Front Office feels, there likely won't be much competition this year. Former Detroit Lion kicker Steve Hauschka was brought in as security in the effect that RFA Matt Prater isn't re-signed. 


Punter/Holder

Britton Colquitt


Kicker

Matt Prater*
Steve Hauschka


Long Snapper

Lonie Paxton



Returner - The return duties will not take up a roster spot and auditions should include the players listed below.

Eddie Royal

Eric Decker
Matthew Willis
Cassius Vaughn
Syd'Quan Thompson
Eron Riley
Britt Davis
Quinton Carter
Rahim Moore


I count 37 on Defense including Woodyard and Prater. Add another 8
 and we have 45. With the 38 from the Offense and the 7 additions on that side of the ball, we get our magic number 90. To recap, I project that the Broncos will add 15 players to the Training Camp roster. Four Running Backs, two Wide Receivers, an Offensive Lineman, six Defensive Linemen, a Linebacker and a Cornerback. Another thing to keep in mind us that upgrades are likely to occur and some of the players signed to futures contracts could be replaced as early as the hour that Free Agency begins.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours MHR?

Go Broncos!