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Three most intriguing position battles to watch heading into ‘Cut Day’

Predicting how the Broncos may put together the 53-man roster is folly. But why should that stop us from trying.

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Denver Broncos Training Camp Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

By 2 p.m. Mile High Time on Saturday, the Broncos will have to have finalized their 53-man roster as the first official game week practice begins in earnest after Labor Day.

And as Vic Fangio and his coaching staff grapple with the tough questions of which players stay and which players go, there are a few position groups garnering much attention to see which way Fangio leans.

“It’s not set yet,” Fangio said Tuesday about his final roster that has to go from 80 to 53 in just a day. “You will have a 16-man practice squad. All those guys that will be on the practice squad you do have to expose to waivers. We haven’t had final sit-down discussions about how it’s going to look, but we will as this week goes on and as we go through the week. We’ll see how it goes. Yeah, there are some choices to be made still.”

Let’s take a look at a few of the more intriguing ones:

Cornerback

After trading Isaac Yiadom on Thursday to the Giants for a seventh-round pick in 2021, the Broncos’ cornerback depth chart gained some clarity.

A.J. Bouyé and Bryce Callahan have No. 1 and 2 spots locked up. Whether De’Vanté Bausby or Davontae Harris gets the third spot may be anyone’s guess heading into Monday Night Football on Sept. 14.

Assuming Fangio keeps more than five corners and that the currently injured rookie corner Michael Ojemudia makes the squad, the question becomes which player between Essang Bassey and Duke Dawson Jr. rounds out the depth chart?

Reportedly Fangio likes what he sees from Bassey, which is why he put the undrafted rookie in with the ones on nickel defense earlier this week.

“It was more of a test for him. It wasn’t a move or anything,” Fangio said, admitting it was partly “just to see how he reacted and how he would do in there.”

And if you’re wondering, Fangio thought he “did pretty damn well.”

Given Ojemudia’s current quad injury, I think Bassey makes the team with Duke Dawson Jr. on the bubble.

Tight end

Noah Fant obviously has the top spot locked in, and the free agent addition of Nick Vannett should make for a nice 1-2 punch at TE for once.

Phil Milani reports that the Broncos are really high on Beck, and even though Pat Shurmur has not used a fullback in his previous offenses too much, the intelligent play of Andrew Beck likely means Shurmur will be expeced to a fin

But what to do about Albert Okwuegbunam, Andrew Beck, Jake Butt and Troy Fumagali?

My gut tells me the Broncos will obviously keep Albert O., who is nursing a slight injury right now but is a favorite target of Drew Lock’s, and I’ll take a guess that Butt wins the nod over Fumagali but that might as well be a coin flip.

Wide receiver

Having too many good receivers is a good problem to have - and one the Broncos have not had in a long time.

But with the return of Courtland Sutton plus the addition of Jerry Jeudy, wideoute seems to be a position of considerable strength for this team.

Since K.J. Hamler is currently sidelined with a tweaked hamstring, the Broncos are more likely to pad the WR chart right now...just in case.

DaeSean Hamilton or Tim Patrick is the most likely to take the fourth spot - at least for now - but that leaves question mark(s) for Dionatae Spencer and Tyrie Cleveland.

Spencer, already slated to be the Broncos’ primary kick returner, probably has a spot on the 53 penciled in. But Cleveland has had a great camp and will force the coaches to make some tough choices and decide if he is good enough to put on the 53 and take away a spot at another crucial position, such as inside linebacker or offensive lineman.

Broncos/NFL News

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