The Denver Broncos have dropped their first depth chart of the year. The Mile High Report staff got together to give their first initial reactions to the depth chart and what it means for the teams Hall of Fame Game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.
Broncos depth chart
|Steven Dunbar Jr.
|Chris Harris Jr.
Who is the biggest winner from the initial depth chart?
JoRo: NFL Veterans. Jeff Heuerman, Kevin Hogan, Devontae Booker and others have held off the rookies so far.
Jeff: Jeff Heuerman and Troy Fumagali. Heuerman retains the “starting” slot despite a first round pick at TE being brought in, and Fumagali is currently ahead of Jake Butt, and Austin Fort, the latter of which who has been the talk of camp so far.
Joe Maloney: Juwann Winfree
Taylor: Alexander Johnson. It appears he may be making the most of having gotten more time to get back into NFL shape and mindset, because Johnson’s technically your current starting ILB beside Josey Jewell.
Ian: Juwann Winfree
Who is the biggest loser?
Joe M: Langley, who is currently behind two guys on the depth chart who most Bronco fans have never heard of (Fred Brown and Trinity [Neo] Benson)
Taylor: Malik Reed. It’s odd to see Reed as 4th string behind Von Miller with Dekoda Watson and Jeff Holland between. It feels like the two UDFAs ought to be split up, one to a side. Regardless, Reed’s got to start moving or he won’t make the roster even as depth.
Ian: Until he gets back on the field and can play, Jake Butt.
JoRo: Austin Fort kind of stands out if only because all of his work doesn’t seem to have moved him up the charts just yet. It will be interesting to see if he can sway the coaching staff with a few games.
Jeff: Will Parks. In a contract year in which it seemed that he would inherit the starting role from the departing Stewart, Kareem Jackson is listed as the starting safety next Justin Simmons, and given the alignments so far in camp and Fangio’s comments it looks like Jackson will be primarily playin safety. So barring injury, if Parks wants to get some playing time and make a splash in his final year of his rookie deal, he’ll have to do it as a 3rd safety.
What decision is the biggest surprise?
Joe M: Dekoda Watson ahead of Holland and Reed as Von’s backup
Taylor: Fred Brown being a top 6 WR on the depth chart is a bit of a head-scratcher. We’ve heard very little about him coming out of camp, and that has been somewhat mixed.
Ian: DeMarcus Walker at No. 2 behind Adam Gotsis
Jeff: Maybe not biggest surprise, but was interesting to see Chubb as SLB and Von as WLB, as that puts Von lining up over the left tackle, when he’s traditionally lined up over the offense’s right. Now alignments will vary, and they’ll move both those guys around a bunch, but if we’re comparing to the Bears defense, it seems that Von is stepping into Kalil Mack’s role with Chubb into Floyd’s, which would mean Chubb holding the edge and out in coverage more than Von.All speculation at this point and we’ll have to see how it shakes out, but bares watching.
JoRo: Linden Stephens and the cornerback group. It’s kind of nature of the beast though. The way training camp reports and tweets work, you only really hear about the cornerbacks who get beat or make big plays. In reality strong corner play is a lot like solid play on the offensive line: you won’t really hear about it.
When I was looking at Fangio’s Bear depth charts he’s always carried 6 cornerbacks, so the fact that Horace Richardson and Stephens start the preseason there can’t hurt their chances to stick to the roster.
Who looks likeliest to move this preseason?
Joe M: Booker, particularly if we sign Theo Riddick.
JoRo: Drew Lock is going to move to second quarterback, it’s just a matter of time.
Taylor: Austin Fort. The young TE has been showing out in camp. He’s got to be breathing down Jake Butt’s neck at this point, and a sharp performance in the HOF Game could give him the edge needed to steal the TE4 spot from Butt.
Jeff: Agree with Taylor, I think we’ll see Fort pass Butt for sure, maybe even Fumagali if he’s looking as impressive as people say.
Ian: Joe Dineen. Games are a better indicator for the undrafted middle linebacker from Kansas than practice. Dineen tackles anything and everything. As he told me early in camp, he’s gotten in trouble a few times for bringing guys to the ground. If Dineen makes a move up the depth chart, it’ll come from the games.
The middle linebacker known as “The Mayor” is looking to become the latest undrafted success story in Denver.
Any other thoughts?
Taylor: Returners are far from sorted out. Of the listed kick returners (Booker, Cracraft, Langley, Devontae Jackson), only Booker has a high chance of making the 53 man roster- if the Broncos don’t sign Theo Riddick today.Same deal for punt returners (Cracraft, Hamilton, Langley, McKnight). Hamilton is the only one of those guys who’s a lock for the roster. With Cracraft and Langley both appearing on both returner lists, one or the other may claw their way onto the 53 man roster as WR5 or WR6 based on their value as a returner.
JoRo: Until it becomes clear how the Broncos will use personnel, a lot of the positions are still pretty hazy. Fant is currently TE2, but if Scangarello is going to utilize two tight end sets as much as reports hint at, he’s still a starter. Same with the defense. If Fangio goes nickel personnel 80% of the time Yiadom or Parks is basically a starting defensive back at the expense of a linebacker or lineman.
Scotty: Initial depth charts are meaningless, especially for the first of five preseason games.