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Su’a Cravens cut from the Broncos

After coming to the Broncos in a trade with Washington, the veteran safety’s orange and blue ambitions ended today.

Denver Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Week 12
Craven’s upside couldn’t overcome his lapses in coverage.
Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

One of the first cuts for the Broncos was reported this morning by 9News’ Mike Klis:

Vic Fangio mentioned Thursday night that cut day is a bad part of the job.

“You develop relationships with these guys,” he said. “They’ve been here since April with us. I like all these guys and they’ve put forth good effort and they all have dreams and ambitions.”

Since coming to the Broncos Vic Fangio has made it clear Su’a Cravens would have to make the Broncos as a safety. Unfortunately, a tight roster fit and deep safety group means those orange and blue dreams look over.

Cravens came to the Broncos in a trade with Washington last March. At the time it was sold as a way for the Vance Joseph defense to add depth to the defensive backfield and provide a potential answer to the Broncos issues covering tight ends.

Early and often the former 2nd round pick stated his desire to play safety after he began his NFL career playing as a sub-package linebacker. Mile High Report’s Jeff Essary made note of it, but had trouble believing it.

There have been some folks pointing out Cravens’ stated desire to be seen as a safety, and his strong safety designation. That is fine. He can consider himself a safety all he wants, and he may be able to move to that position in the future, but he hasn’t played safety in the three years of tape I have watched.

Cravens never lined up more than 5-7 yards off the line of scrimmage in two years of tape at USC, or in his rookie year in Washington.

Fortunately for Cravens, the Vance Joseph defense made ample use of the dimebacker position: a similar role to the one Cravens had grown comfortable with during his time in D.C.

Unfortunately, Cravens never delivered on the hope that he’d be an asset to the defense. He missed time early in 2018 with a knee injury and then fell out of favor with Joseph over the course of the season, even finding himself a healthy scratch to close out the season.

Fast forward to the new system, and Cravens got his stated wish: Vic Fangio would let him compete as a true safety. It meant the veteran would have to play in space and coverage, something he struggled to do the previous season.

Early in camp things looked promising, but the longer the Preseason went on the more obvious it became that Cravens was in danger of missing the cut. In the end, Cravens’ issues in pass defense and relative inexperience on special teams left him on the outside looking in.

Cravens has struggled in space throughout the Preseason.

I suspect Cravens will have a few suitors who remain optimistic they can find him a role and fit that delivers on the upside he offers coming out of USC in 2016. Perhaps he and Vance Joseph can bury the hatchet in order for the Arizona Cardinals to add talent at dimebacker.