The Broncos officially announced multiple roster transactions earlier this afternoon. They announced that they officially signed linebackers Corey Nelson and Keishawn Bierria to the 53-man roster while also signing corner Devontae Harris to the 53-man roster as well.
To make room for these three players, the Broncos placed rookie quarterback Drew Lock, veteran running back Theo Riddick, and oft-injured tight end Jake Butt on the injured reserve.
The Broncos added three players to their 53-man roster: linebackers Keishawn Bierria and Corey Nelson and cornerback Davontae Harris.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 2, 2019
Denver placed quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Jake Butt and running back Theo Riddick on injured reserve in corresponding roster moves.
Linebackers Corey Nelson and Keishawn Bierria will provide depth at inside linebacker moving forward. Todd Davis(if healthy) and Josey Jewell are your starters while A.J. Johnson is likely the next man up if one of them go down. The injured Joe Jones is a special teams ace and will likely take one of Nelson’s or Bierria’s roster spots when healthy(barring other injuries of course) but he will factor in down the road as well.
I would expect Nelson to active on gamedays because of his special teams play. It’s what he did in his prior stint here and with Jones out, he fills that void. I view Bierria as insurance incase Todd Davis isn’t ready to go and/or will be eased into playing time.
As for Devontae Harris, he adds depth to the Broncos cornerback unit. I am not sure where he or recently acquired Duke Dawson land on the depth chart, but the Broncos now have plenty of depth at corner
Now, since all three of the Broncos placed on the injured reserve were done so during the regular season, two of them can be designated to return. The official report doesn’t say which of the three it will be, but logic tells you it will be Theo Riddick for sure and likely Drew Lock.
Riddick is the obvious one and if all goes well, he should be an important piece to the Broncos offense. As for Lock, I believe they claimed Brandon Allen to simply keep the seat warm for Lock until he can come back. A veteran or a more distinguished quarterback would have potentially pointed at Lock missing the entire year, but they left that door wide open for him to reclaim the backup quarterback job.
This leaves Jake Butt as the one who is most likely to miss the entire year. They waited until the start of the season to keep that door cracked open, but Butt has yet to show he can simply stay healthy. I believe it would be a bit of a waste to use one of your two return designations on him when he will likely be hurt the next time he takes the field anyways.
We shall see how it shakes out, but I am willing to bet Lock and RIddick will be your two injured reserve players to get the return designation.