The Denver Broncos report to Training Camp later this week which officially kicks off the 2017 NFL season. It’s an exciting time for fans, but it could be a tough few weeks for some players who may lose a starting spot or even a roster spot during these practices.
So let's take a look at five(or so) Denver Broncos players who have the most to lose during Training Camp.
1. Quarterback, Trevor Siemian
Trevor Siemian came out of nowhere last season to defeat veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez for the Broncos starting quarterback job. The former seventh round selection went on to have an inconsistent season but showed enough to show that he belongs in the NFL and could start for the Broncos going forward.
However, newly hired Denver Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph indicated back in January that the Broncos starting quarterback job would be an “open competition” between Trevor Siemian and 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph on QBs Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch: "It's gonna be an open competition."— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 12, 2017
Those two players split first-team reps all through OTA’s and minicamp and both players had their ups and downs. However, Paxton Lynch’s reported surge in the final two weeks of these practices has closed the gap between the two and put Siemian’s starting job in danger.
With that said, Vance Joseph stated publicly that these spring practices had zero effect on the starting quarterback battle and that would begin during Training Camp.
So let the battle begin!
Trevor Siemian struggled over the middle of the field last season pic.twitter.com/5izi400MEf— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 24, 2017
If Siemian wants to win the Broncos starting quarterback job once again he will need to throw downfield more during these practices, avoid turnovers, and hope that Paxton Lynch’s momentum doesn’t carry over from the spring. If those things happen and he has a good enough preseason, he will be your starting quarterback. If not, he will go from 2016 starter to being the backup in 2017.
Only time will tell which will happen, but Trevor Siemian has the most to lose of any player on the roster.
2. Running back’s C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles
The Broncos running back situation is surrounded by a bunch of question marks and it starts at the top with their two veteran runners.
C.J. Anderson is likely penciled in as the Broncos starter week one, but the veteran runner is not a lock to start. He is coming off a major knee injury that kept him sidelined for most of the 2016 season and will need to prove that his knee is 100%. Anderson has been a bit injury prone during his career and add that in with his bouts of inconsistency and you have some concerns.
Anderson will need to show his knee is healthy, that he’s in better shape, and that his knee can handle contact. If not, he may be sidelined and/or lose his starting job this summer.
Now whatever injury concerns Anderson has, you can multiply that by 10 when you’re talking about Jamaal Charles’s injury concerns.
The veteran and longtime Chiefs running back signed with the Broncos days after the 2017 NFL Draft concluded. He has been rehabbing his injured knee that has limited him to just 8 games and a total of 83 carries during the last two seasons. He has appeared healthy this spring for the Broncos, but you will not know for sure until tests it in a padded practice or preseason game.
If the injury bug bites again for Charles, his roster spot instantly becomes in danger. The Broncos have youngsters Devontae Booker and DeAngelo Henderson waiting in the wings for their opportunity if one or both of the veterans stumble.
3. Wide receivers Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler
The Broncos wide receiving group might be the deepest and most competitive roster battle to watch this spring. Veteran’s Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are locked in as starters, but after that, it remains wide open.
Now with that said, two roster spots are likely already locked up by two rookie wide receivers. Carlos Henderson, the Broncos third round selection is likely your starting slot receiver this season(If all goes well), and the Broncos have big plans for fifth-round receiver/returner/gadget player Isaiah McKenzie. So that’s four receivers already, and the Broncos are likely keeping no more than six receivers on the roster. That means Jordan Taylor, Bennie Fowler, former second pick Cody Latimer, Hunter Sharp, Kalif Raymond, and UDFA Anthony Nash are fighting for two roster spots.
I think Jordan Taylor’s size, upside, and big play ability make him a favorite to get one of the spots, so I believe that puts the pressure on Fowler and Latimer.
Bennie Fowler will provide solid depth at the wide receiver position. https://t.co/Rn15Ki6KxF— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) June 8, 2017
Since you’re fighting for the 5th and potentially 6th spots at receiver, you will need to contribute on special teams. Both Fowler and Latimer played 41% of the Special Team reps last season, so they both can do it if called on.
What helps Latimer is his knack of making a big play or two in key moments on special teams. He had a few key plays on that side of the ball during the Broncos 2015 Super Bowl run. So this might give Latimer a slight edge in this race, but it will be wide open during Camp.
How each performs at receiver will factor into this decision obviously, but ultimately it all comes down to Special Teams.
4. Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambralio
I’m going to keep this short and simple. Both were terrible last season and neither deserve a roster spot, but one or both may need to start(Let's hope not) if rookie Garret Bolles isn’t ready and/or the injury bug bites Menelik Watson once again.
If both Watson and Bolles start, one of the two will need to serve as the swing tackle.
Ty still does have some potential since he has never been 100% since his rookie year and showed up to OTA’s bigger and stronger. So we will have if that changes anything.
Ultimately both may end up being cut since you would likely find a better third tackle after final cuts or via a trade.
5. Nose tackle Domata Peko
Domata Peko was signed to help get bigger and stronger along the defensive line, and also help stop the run which was an issue for the Broncos last season. Sounds good on paper, but here’s the problem, Peko has been steadily declining and is coming off a poor season for the Bengals last season.
Father Time remains undefeated and Domata Peko who will turn 33 in November is losing that battle.
Peko received a 47.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus last season and was ranked 106th out of 127 eligible interior defenders last season as well. His increasing age means his skill will continue to decline and if he continues to play like he has, he will be a major weak point for the Broncos defense.
If Peko struggles early into camp, he could lose his starting nose tackle job. They also signed Zach Kerr who can handle the nose tackle position well if Peko cannot. His cousin Kyle Peko also showed promise last season as well.
Domata’s contract and his leadership skills likely mean he isn’t going anywhere this season but he may very well lose a roster spot if he doesn’t greatly improve on his 2016 performance.
Which Broncos player(s) has the most to lose during Training Camp?
This poll is closed
C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles
Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer
Ty Sambrailo and Donald Stephenson