Week one of the 2018 NFL regular season is nearly here!
The Denver Broncos have released their week one depth chart ahead of their week one matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.
#Broncos official depth chart for the opener vs the #Seahawks, from the team’s weekly release. pic.twitter.com/BP5KBNjZcl— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) September 3, 2018
Let us take a look at the Broncos week one depth chart.
Broncos Depth Chart - Week 1
Starter: Case Keenum
Backups: Chad Kelly and Kevin Hogan
A month ago, who would have expected this being the Broncos quarterback depth chart? Case Keenum is your unquestioned starter followed by Chad Kelly as your two and Kevin Hogan as your three.
Not much else to say here.
Starter: Royce Freeman
Backups: Devontae Booker and Phillip Lindsay
This is how many expected to playout and it did. Rookie Royce Freeman is your starter, Devontae Booker is your third-down back, and rookie Phillip Lindsay is your space back.
I like this unit and have high expectations for them.
Starter: Andy Janovich
Janovich is your blocking specialist and a key contributor on special teams. The Broncos just need to keep Jano healthy.
Starters: Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders
Backups: Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick, and Isaiah McKenzie
DT and Sanders are your starters again. Behind them is the big rookie Courtland Sutton who is a borderline starter in my mind and likely fills the number three role at wide receiver.
Behind Sutton, you have fellow rookie DaeSean Hamilton who figures to see a good amount of playing time as well. DT and Sanders aren’t getting any younger so we could see him spell one of the two here and there.
Rounding out the receiving depth chart is big Tim Patrick and returner/receiver, Isaiah McKenzie. Patrick will mostly play special teams while McKenzie is your likely return man.
Starter: Jeff Heuerman
Backups: Jake Butt and Matt LaCosse
This is probably the Broncos most concerning unit. The oft-injured Jeff Heuerman is your starter. He has looked good in the preseason but can he stay healthy? That is the big question.
Behind him you have your “move tight end” in Jake Butt. Look for him to be moved around the offense and used in the red zone. Finally, you have your blocking specialist in Matt LaCosse.
Starters: Garett Bolles, Ronald Leary, Matt Paradis, Connor McGovern, and Jared Veldheer
Backups: Elijah Wilkinson, Max Garcia, Sam Jones, and Billy Turner
The Broncos offensive line looks the best it has in years. Veldheer has held his own at right tackle while Bolles and Leary give the Broncos a strong left side. The pass protection has been a strength throughout the preseason and hopefully, that continues into the regular season.
The depth behind them has some potential. Max Garcia has years of starting experience and can slide right in with no problems. Elijah Wilkinson and Sam Jones give them two young options who they hope they can develop into starters down the road. Finally, you have the versatile Billy Turner who can play tackle or guard which is always nice to have.
Starters: Derek Wolfe, Domata Peko, and Adam Gotsis
Backups: Shelby Harris, DeMarcus Walker, and Zach Kerr
This is the Broncos deepest and strongest unit.
Look for Wolfe, Gotsis, and Peko to be your starters. They’re your run down guys but expect a lot of substituting throughout the game.
The reserves include Shelby Harris who is a starter for most teams in the NFL who can play all along the defensive line. He’s listed as the backup nose tackle but has played defensive end in the past. You have your pass rush specialist in DeMarcus Walker who I believe is going to have a breakout year. Rounding out the group is the big and versatile Zach Kerr. He can eat up blockers as well as get into the backfield.
Starter: Von Miller and Bradley Chubb
Backups: Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray
This is another talented group.
Von Miller is your All-Pro who can push for 15+ sacks each year. We know what he can do and his importance to this team. Playing next to him this year will be the ultra-talented Bradley Chubb who the Broncos selected with their 5th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Look for these two to make the life for quarterbacks a living hell.
Behind these two are two key reserves. Shaquil Barrett is a run-down specialist who we may see spell Bradley Chubb at times. As for the former first-round pick Shane Ray, look for him to be a situational pass rusher for the Broncos.
Can’t wait to see Joe Woods unveil his NASCAR package that likely includes all four of these pass rushers.
Starter: Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis
Backups: Josey Jewell, Joe Jones, Keishawn Bierra, and Alexander Johnson
The Broncos kept a whopping six inside linebackers on their 53-man roster. Head Coach Vance Joseph explained that special teams are the biggest reason behind this.
Your starters are once again Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis. Both are good against the run but have their struggles in the passing game.
Behind those two you have Josey Jewell. He was the Broncos fourth-round pick in April’s NFL Draft and likely the main backup to Davis and Marshall. Behind him is where it gets murky. You have three guys who will likely play Special Teams. Those three being Joe Jones, Keishawn Bierra, and Alexander Johnson.
I expect one or two of these guys to be a game-day inactive come Sunday, but until then, It is unclear how that pecking order will go.
Starter: Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby
Backups; Tramaine Brock, Adam Jones, and Isaac Yiadom
Your two starters will be longtime starter Chris Harris Jr. and former first-round pick Bradley Roby.
After those two you have two veterans in Tramaine Brock and Adam “Pac Man” Jones. I expect Brock to be your number three with Jones like spelling one of these throughout the game if needed. Rounding out the group is the developmental rookie Issac Yiadom. Look for him to play primarily Special Teams his rookie year.
Starters: Justin Simmons and Darian Stewart
Backups: Will Parks and Dymonte Thomas
Justin Simmons and veteran Darian Stewart are your starters at safety once again. Look for Simmons to push for a Pro Bowl bid this year. He is being used all over the field and should be an impactful player for the Broncos defense.
Behind these two you have the versatile Will Parks and Dymonte Thomas. Parks will likely be your dime backer in sub-packages and will be tasked with covering teams tight ends and running backs. He had himself a strong camp and preseason so hopefully, he can carry that into the regular season.
Dymonte Thomas made a name for himself with his play during week three of the preseason against Washington. With Parks sitting out that game, Thomas served as the Broncos dime backer and routinely made big plays for the Broncos defense. This performance helped him earn a roster spot. It will be interesting to see if the Broncos use him here again during the season or if he just plays special teams early on.
Kicker: Brandon McManus
Punter: Marquette King
Longsnapper: Casey Kreiter
Kick returner: Phillip Lindsay
Backup: Adam “Pac Man” Jones
Punt returner: Adam “Pac Man” Jones
backup: Isaiah McKenzie