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The risk (?) of hiding Sloter on the Broncos’ practice squad

For #TeamSloter fans, it’s highly likely he stays in Denver this season.

Denver Broncos v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Vance Joseph announced Monday the Broncos will only be keeping two quarterbacks on the 53-man active roster.

That effectively means Broncos will waive Kyle Sloter and then re-sign him to the practice squad. That also assumes that Broncos place Chad Kelly on IR.

For Sloter, once he is waived, he is free to sign with the practice squad on any team (or the active roster of any team), but the odds are highly unlikely that he would NOT sign with Denver’s practice squad. It’s also highly unlikely that he would be “stolen” from the Broncos’ practice squad.

There are three reasons for this:

1. He was undrafted for a reason.

Sloter only played one year of QB at the college level. That means that no team coveted him enough to use even a seventh-round pick on him to secure his services. But, wait, you say, Sloter has looked amazing against the third (or fourth string) defenders of the Bears and the 49ers. Hasn’t he shown enough for a QB-hungry team to take a chance on him? No, not really, and this brings me to the second reason.

2. He’s not the only good third-stringer out there

About half the league has a third- or fourth-string QB who has put up crazy-good numbers against guys who will be selling cell phones when the season starts. Just look at the stats of these back-up QBs through two preseason games (keeping in mind that some were against second- string and some were against third-string or worse):

Player Team Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck Rate
Josh Woodrum BAL 12 14 85.7 195 13.9 1 0 0 142.6
Kyle Sloter DEN 12 13 92.3 144 11.1 1 0 2 138.5
Brandon Allen JAX 15 22 68.2 229 10.4 2 0 0 132.6
C.J. Beathard SF 14 23 60.9 211 9.2 3 0 2 130.6
Patrick Mahomes KC 17 23 73.9 137 6.0 3 0 1 128.1
Cooper Rush DAL 26 38 68.4 283 7.4 4 0 0 125.2
Joe Webb CAR 12 20 60.0 195 9.8 3 1 0 111.5
Mitchell Trubisky CHI 24 33 72.7 226 6.8 2 0 1 111.4
Jeff Driskel CIN 10 15 66.7 110 7.3 1 0 3 110.4
Taysom Hill GB 10 16 62.5 118 7.4 1 0 1 105.7
Jimmy Garoppolo NE 37 51 72.5 380 7.5 3 1 4 105.0
Trevone Boykin SEA 17 23 73.9 244 10.6 1 1 3 104.3
Brett Hundley GB 17 25 68.0 197 7.9 2 1 5 101.6
Brad Kaaya DET 12 18 66.7 109 6.1 1 0 1 101.4

Yes Sloter’s numbers look great, but so do the numbers for the other 13 QBs on this list. Admittedly some of these guys are highly drafted and/or highly compensated and not all are going to be QB3 for their team, but a significant number of them will be, and they might end up on the practice squad (if eligible).

3. Two on the roster is common.

This is the main point - it’s not uncommon for teams to only carry two QBs on their 53-man rosters during the regular season.

I looked at the roster of every NFL team on Oct. 1, 2016 (roughly three games into the season), and 12 of them only had two QBs on the 53-man roster. Eleven of the 12 of those had a QB on the practice squad, and none of those practice squad QBs were poached by other teams last season.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t happen, but it doesn’t happen very often. Of the 20 teams that kept three QBs on their active rosters, seven did so because they had invested draft capital in their third QB.

Here’s the breakdown for the whole league last season.

As of Oct. 1, 2016, no NFL team had three QBs on its 53-man roster plus a QB on its practice squad.

Team 3 QBs? Drafted QB3? QB on PS drafted QB on PS?
MIA no no yes yes
BAL no no yes no
IND no no yes no
TEN no no yes no
LAC no no no no
PHI no no yes no
DET no no yes yes
MIN no no yes no
ATL no no yes no
NO no no no no
AZ no no yes - Dysert no
SEA no no yes no
BUF yes yes no no
CIN yes no no no
CLE yes no no no
PIT yes no no no
HOU yes no no no
JAX yes yes no no
DEN yes no no no
KC yes no no no
OAK yes yes no no
DAL yes no no no
NYG yes no no no
WAS yes yes no no
CHI yes no no no
GB yes no no no
CAR yes no no no
TB yes no no no
LAR yes yes no no
SF yes no no no
NYJ yes - 4 yes - QB4 no no
NE yes* yes no no

The practice squad QB3s from that point in the year last season (chosen because Ourlads.com only takes a roster snapshot at the beginning of the month and 9/1/16 was before the cut-down):

MIA - Brandon Doughty (5th rnd pick of MIA in 2016)

BAL - David Fales (6th rnd pick of CHI in 2014)

IND - Stephen Morris (UDCFA)

TEN - Alex Tanney (UDCFA)

PHI - Aaron Murray (5th rnd pick of KC in 2014)

DET - Jake Rudock (6th rnd pick of DET in 2016)

MIN - Joel Stave (UDCFA)

ATL - Matt Simms (UDCFA)

NO - Garrett Grayson (3rd rnd pick of NO in 2015)

AZ - Zac Dysert (7th rnd DEN pick in 2015)

SEA - Jake Heaps (UDCFA)

Some of these guys looked really impressive in preseason and still none of them got poached. Here are their preseason stats from 2016:

Player Team Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Sck Rate
Stephen Morris IND 39 61 63.9 531 8.7 4 1 1 106.7
Jake Rudock DET 30 51 58.8 333 6.5 4 1 1 96.3
Brandon Doughty MIA 20 28 71.4 185 6.6 0 0 5 89.1
Alex Tanney TEN 37 49 75.5 357 7.3 1 2 6 85.2
Matt Simms ATL 26 39 66.7 353 9.1 1 2 2 82.5
Garrett Grayson NO 39 70 55.7 409 5.8 2 4 3 58.6
Jake Heaps SEA 8 19 42.1 64 3.4 0 0 0 51.2

Poll

Do you hope Kyle Sloter remains on the Broncos’ practice squad?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Absolutely!
    (1165 votes)
  • 22%
    I was kinda hoping he’d be the backup (or... starter???)
    (437 votes)
  • 18%
    $wag Kelly!
    (357 votes)
1959 votes total Vote Now