Last season, the Denver Broncos kept the following out of training camp (via Andrew Mason):
QB: 3 RB: 4 FB: 1 WR: 5 TE: 3 OL: 9
DL: 8 LB: 7 DB: 10
On offense the total was 25, on defense the total was 25. Using last years number as a template, here are my preliminary projections:
QB: 3 RB: 4 FB: 0 WR: 5 TE: 3 OL: 9
DL: 8 LB: 7 DB: 10
Everything here is virtually the same except for the FB position. Here's some of my reasoning behind those numbers.
QB: I wouldn't expect Zac Dysert to clear waivers and become a candidate for the practice squad. He has all the physical tools Elway covets in a QB and is able to make plays when things break down. I expect he'll show some of his potential in the preseason and price himself off the practice squad. Therefore the Broncos carry 3.
RB: No surprises here, Hillman and Montee Ball are virtual locks. That leaves the other two spots up between McGahee, Hillman, "Blue" Ball, and Hester.
WR: Here's where things get a bit tricky. Are Bubba Caldwell and Tavarres King fighting for a roster spot, or are they fighting for position? Because if they are fighting for a roster spot, Trindon Holliday will be designated as the #5 WR. More on this situation below.
TE: I honestly don't see Julius Thomas making the squad. That being said, the Broncos could choose to keep 4 TE depending on what they do with the #5 WR spot. Again more on this below.
OL: I like this number, especially with virtually every starter either rehabbing from offseason surgery or recovering from injuries. You'll have your starting 5, a backup C which could be Blake or CJ Davis, two interior linemen which will be Chris Kuper and someone else, and your rookie swing T Painter. People have a hard time seeing Kuper on the roster as a backup with his salary, but I've never seen an issue with it. He gives you the ability to have a stud starter if he's healthy, and if he is, expect to see Vasquez and him as the two guards.
DL: So much versatility here. 4 DT, 4 DE. I would say Knighton, Vickerson, and Williams are locks with Unrein/Siliga and others to duke it out for that 4th position. At DE Wolfe, Ayers, Smith are three possible locks with the fourth position being contested by Jackson, Beal and other.
LB: Von, Irving, and Woodyard your starting 3 with Phillips, Bradley, and Trevathan as backups plus one more spot for a special teamer. We didn't even mention the fact that two of these LB can also rush from the edge as DE, again lots of depth in the front 7.
DB: I figure 6 CB and 4 S. Champ, DRC, Harris, Carter, Bolden, Webster to go along with Moore, Adams, Carter, and Bruton at safety.
Questions to ponder:
1) If my projections are correct, where do the Broncos use that last roster spot? Will the Broncos keep 5 true WR, or just 4 true WR plus Trindon Holliday as a utility man? If the Broncos keep 5 true WR, they have to utilize that spot on him as a specialist.
2) Do the Broncos keep 3 QB's or do they gamble with slipping Dysert on the practice squad?
3) Do the Broncos use that extra spot on another OL and make that number 10? Sure it's a lot of bodies, but it might be a prudent move given all the recent injury history.
4) Do the Broncos only keep 7 D-linemen? I could see a scenario where they Broncos keep only 3 DE and not 4. Since both Von and Phillips fill that role in pass rushing situations, it gives them that flexibility.
5) Do the Broncos keep 9 DB instead of 10? What gives you the flexibility here is Kayvon Webster who seems more like a safety than a corner. Since he could theoretically flex and play both slots, it eliminates the need for one player.
I'd like your input MHR--what say you about the final numbers?