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The 2021 Broncos initial 53-man roster

With the cuts behind us, here is who remains on the Denver Broncos’ roster heading into the regular season.

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Your 2021 Broncos
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos had to trim their roster from 80 to 53 players before the NFL deadline today at 2 PM MT. While the roster will remain fluid throughout the regular season because of injuries, additions, etc., we have our first look at what George Paton’s 2021 team will actually look like.

3 Specialists

Brandon McManus, Sam Martin, Jacob Bobenmoyer

  • We’ve known these were the guys since Max Duffy was released in June.

11 Defensive Backs

Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Bryce Callahan, Patrick Surtain II, Kareem Jackson, Justin Simmons, Caden Sterns, P.J. Locke III, Jamar Johnson, Kary Vincent, and Michael Ojemudia+

  • Earlier this week Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that NFL teams had shown interest in Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, Nate Hairston, and Saivion Smith, which could make Hairston and Smith’s trip through waivers interesting.
  • Duke Dawson and Essang Bassey will open the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Neither has left the list throughout training camp after tearing their ACLs late in the 2020 season. Landing on PUP means they’ll be eligible to return to play after six weeks. They do not count against the 53-man roster limit.

5 Linebackers

Alexander Johnson, Josey Jewell, Justin Strnad, Baron Browning, and Jonas Griffith

  • It wouldn’t surprise me if undrafted rookie Curtis Robinson or Barrington Wade make their way to the practice squad. Both could help on special teams down the road.
  • The Broncos sent a 2022 sixth-round pick and 2023 seventh-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for linebacker Jonas Griffith this morning.

5 Edge Rushers

Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Malik Reed, Jonathon Cooper, and Andre Mintze

  • If Miller, Chubb, and Reed stay healthy this is going to be one of the best edge rooms in the NFL. If Cooper can build on what he showed in camp, the group is going to be incredible.

6 Defensive Linemen

Shelby Harris, Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Purcell, McTelvin Agim, DeShawn Williams, and Jonathan Harris

  • There’s been little question about this group throughout camp. While they won’t receive the fanfare, the Broncos look like they’ll have one of the best interior lines in the NFL this season.
  • I’m surprised Shamar Stephen was cut. He outplayed Jonathan Harris by what I saw in the preseason and dumping him means the Broncos will eat $750,000 in a dead cap hit.

5 Wide Receivers

Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Tim Patrick, Diontae Spencer

  • Pat Shurmur used three receiver sets on 66% of the Broncos’ offensive plays in 2020, so I expect the Broncos to bring back Seth Williams, Kendall Hinton, or Tyrie Cleveland if they do not add outside help.
  • Health is going to be a big question for this group. Sutton was limited to 31 snaps in 2020 because of a torn ACL, while Hamler missed time because of a hamstring injury and eventually landed on Injured Reserve because of a concussion. Patrick also played in just eight games in 2019 because of a hand injury.

8 Offensive Linemen

Garett Bolles, Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cushenberry, Graham Glasgow, Bobby Massie, Calvin Anderson, Quinn Meinerz, Netane Muti

  • The Broncos look set to start Bolles, Risner, Cushenberry, Glasgow, and Massie along the offensive line.
  • Anderson looks like the swing tackle.
  • Hopefully it’s a question that never needs answering, but I’m curious if the coaching staff would slide Glasgow to center or roll with Meinerz at the pivot in the event of a Cushenberry injury.
  • Cutting Cameron Fleming cost the Broncos $1 million in dead money.

4 Tight ends/fullbacks

Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam, Eric Saubert, Andrew Beck

  • We’ve known since at least last Thursday that Saubert and Beck would make the roster.
  • Beck’s the “starting” fullback as well as the TE4.

4 Running Backs

Melvin Gordon, Javonte “Pookie” Williams, Royce Freeman, and Mike Boone+

  • The Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran has confirmed my suspicions that Mike Boone will open the season on Injured Reserve. The way IR works in today’s NFL means the Broncos have to carry him through the 53-man deadline today before they can place him on the reserve if they wish to activate him again in 2021. This means Boone counts against the 53-man roster today, but won’t suit up until the Baltimore Ravens game in week 4 at the earliest.
  • Once Boone is healthy I expect the Broncos to try and move Freeman. One reason I expect Damarea Crockett to land on the practice squad.

2 Quarterbacks

Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock

  • As I write this it looks like Brett Rypien will be the Broncos QB3 off of the practice squad.
The Broncos initial 53-man roster. Depth chart projected.