After several months of tweaking the roster, questioning, answering, observing and any other type of observation that could be made... Here it is our most educated guess at the Denver Broncos final 53-man roster. Get in where you fit in and join Ian Henson and the greatest Broncos fans on the planet!Posted by Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog on Wednesday, August 30, 2017
After several months of tweaking the roster, questioning, answering, observing and any other type of observation that could be made... Here it is our best guess at the Denver Broncos final 53-man roster.
On top of the analysis provided through MHR Live and below in The Strongside Blitz excerpt, we will include a Google Doc where you should be free to make notes and observations. There are two tabs in that doc, but feel free to comment below.
Get in where you fit in and join Ian Henson and the greatest Broncos fans on the planet!
Depth Chart & 53-man Roster
And Injured Reserve and Physically Unable to Perform List.*
*our most educated guess.
Trevor Siemian will start and Paxton Lynch will back up. Vance Joseph indicates that the Broncos may bring in a veteran Friday or Saturday, but has given no indication that the Broncos plan to keep Kyle Sloter on the roster. Sloter seems of minimal risk to not make it back to Denver's practice squad and it would seem that they hope to keep it that way. Chad Kelly is destined for the injured reserve, though he makes an intriguing physically unable to perform list candidate only in theory. In reality he'd be a rookie quarterback taking his first snaps as a pro in Week 6 at the earliest.
C.J. Anderson will get lead duties, Jamaal Charles will be the change of pace receiving 5-10 touches per game and 3rd down duties until Devontae Bookerreturns around Week 3 and possibly cuts that in half. Rookie running back De'Angelo Henderson will prove that he can hold on to the ball while receiving 1-3 touches per game. Booker was one of the leagues best and most reliable 3rd down backs last season prior to Week 7. Longtime Bronco and reliable Juwan Thompson will find himself a casualty of the Charles signing.
Denver is keeping one this season, it's Andy Janovich. If you hear special teams coach Brock Olivio tell it, Janovich may be the best player on the team.
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are obvious, for whatever reason fans don't see Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer as obvious. However, they are. Special teams contributions are the most important things for any receivers not named Sanders and Thomas. Rookie Isaiah McKenzie has shown himself valuable as a punt returner and as a receiver in training camp. Jordan Taylor willed his way on to the team via seven receptions on ten targets this preseason along with much improved special teams play. Kalif Raymond will find himself invited back to Denver's practice squad and finds himself an injury replacement asset if someone like McKenzie or Carlos Henderson were to not be able to play. I expect the Broncos to move rookie receiver/kick returner Carlos Henderson to the injured reserve. He will be eligible to return in Week 6.
Denver will only hold three here it would seem and in this order: Virgil Greenreturns as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, but was used extensively in the passing game by both Siemian and Lynch this preseason. Jeff Heuerman has become one of Siemian's favorite receivers and was on the receiving end of many clutch passes throughout training camp. A.J. Derby is the third receiver. Rookie Jake Butt will be placed on the physically unable to perform list. He will be available to join the team in practice in Week 6. The team will then have two weeks to decide whether to add Butt to the roster or put him on injured reserve.
Garett Bolles was named the starter weeks ago, but that's a gigantic risk for Denver. They're going to make it even riskier by cutting Ty Sambrailo. Justin Murray should be retained for Denver's practice squad.
Menelik Watson is a definite and Donald Stephenson agreed to reduce his salary last week. That team-forward attitude and Stephenson's ability to also play left tackle make him indispensable as a backup. Stephenson was a very early minicamp favorite to start at left tackle this offseason.
The most competitive position battle on the Broncos this season did not end up being at quarterback, but at left guard and it will end in a punt. Allen Barbre has won the job by default and it will cost Denver a late round draft pick next season to keep him, but Barbre has beat Max Garcia. Now, add in that Connor McGovern backs up Matt Paradis and the fact that McGovern plays left guard with Paradis in at center, it makes sense that McGovern also makes the team as a guard and center. Garcia is out.
Ron Leary is starting here. One guy that you haven't heard of, but should know that Vance Joseph is in love with is backup right guard Billy Turner. Turner had a very rough go last season with the Miami Dolphins, he started as a right tackle, but the Dolphins lost three left tackles. Turner moved quickly to left tackle (over a week's worth of practices) and gave up three sacks that weekend. He was cut. Denver picked him up and he can play every position on the offensive line except center.
Matt Paradis returned to games on Saturday. He's here for his legitimate run at All Pro this season. If Leary or Barbre play their cards right they may join Paradis in the hearts and minds of All Pro voters.
Strongside Outside Linebackers
Shane Ray should return to the team by Week 3, Shaquil Barrett yesterday joined the first team defense for team repetitions. This is one of the most difficult positions to guess, because Vontarrius Dora and Kasim Edebali have been identical nearly statistically, but Edebali has received more press due to his nationality. Denver saves $1MM by letting Edebali go before Week 1.
Weakside Outside Linebackers
Von Miller had six snaps this preseason and one sack. Von Miller thinks that he will have two sacks per game this season. Denver drafted his backup in the second round this season. Rookie DeMarcus Walker has a chance to do something that no one in Denver has done since Karl Mecklenburg, play both defensive end and outside linebacker in the same game. We think both Ken Ekanem and Danny Mason get invited to Denver's practice squad. The absolute newest Broncos signing Deiontrez Mount has to get a look, because he also has experience at defensive end and outside linebacker.
Strongside Inside Linebacker
Todd Davis won't let go of his choke hold on this position, he needs a backup that is a special teams ace. That's Zaire Anderson.
Weakside Inside Linebacker
The Broncos running a safety as a middle linebacker in what has become their base defense has negated the biggest weakness on their defense. The covering linebackers. Brandon Marshall has been one of the best in his career and Corey Nelson has bounced between good and bad as a cover-man. Both make the roster.
I think that the only cornerback the Broncos will cut is Marcus Rios. Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, Chris Lewis-Harris, Brendan Langley and Lorenzo Doss in that order. You're going to want Langley and Doss almost exclusively because of their special teams value.
Here be where the feathers get ruffled T.J. Ward will either be cut or traded, possibly both. Darian Stewart will be the old guard and Will Parks, Justin Simmons and Jamal Carter will all graduate the #BabyNoFly. The Parks and Carter combo proved to specifically be too much for two first team offenses this preseason.
Denver has the best rotation that they've had at defensive end since the days of Malik Jackson and Vance Walker. Shelby Harris is the truth and he has elbowed his way on to a rotation led by Derek Wolfe and Jared Crick who is set for a career resurgence. Adam Gotsis will be the fourth member of the rotation and has shown early in preseason that he has improved. Zach Kerr looked to be valuable in Denver's base defense as he is a nose tackle/defensive tackle hybrid. He will be out until at least Week 3 of the season, but will remain on the active roster.
Domata Peko has proven to be worthy of the free agency rider Denver took out on him. College free agent Tyrique Jarrett should be the other CFA to make Denver's 53-man roster (safety Jamal Carter being the other). Jarrett has shown very well this preseason and Billy Winn is on Denver's injured reserve. Kyle Peko returned too late in practice for Denver to attempt to hide Jarrett on the practice squad.
Brandon McManus (kicker), Riley Dixon (punter), and Casey Kreiter (long snapper).