clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Which undrafted player will make the roster in 2022?

Taking a look at which undrafted player might make the Denver Broncos roster and a historical analysis of the team’s success in finding undrafted gems.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

I did not look back beyond 2011, but almost every year 2011-2021 the Broncos have had at least one undrafted free agent player make the 53-man roster. This string was sort of broken in 2015 when two guys made the practice squad out of camp and neither appeared in a game in the 2015 season (but both played for the Broncos in 2016 and 2017). I like saying 2015 counts because it makes a better story, but even if you don’t count it, ten out of eleven years is still pretty good.

You could look at the Bronco UDCFA success in one of two ways. The first way would be that the Broncos have always had good luck at finding gems who went undrafted like Chris Harris and Shaq Barrett. The other way would be to say that the Broncos are so poor at drafting that they needed to fill roster holes with undrafted guys. I’ll let you decide which way you want to view the history. So let’s go year by year and look at the whole group and then discuss the best from each year.

2011
  • CB Brandon Bing
  • DT Ronnell Brown
  • WR Mark Dell
  • LB Derek Domino
  • RB Mario Fannin
  • WR D’Andre Goodwin
  • OT Adam Grant
  • CB Chris Harris Jr
  • WR Jamel Hamler
  • LB A.J. Jones
  • LB Deron Mayo
  • OT Curt Porter
  • CB James Rogers
  • FB Austin Sylvester
  • QB Adam Weber
  • DT Colby Whitlock
  • WR Marshall Williams

Chris Harris Jr. was the gem of this group. He arguably outplayed every player that the Broncos drafted in 2011 with exception of Von Miller. The rest of the group above never took an NFL snap. So outside of Harris this group was terrible.

2012
  • DE Jamie Blatnick
  • LS Aaron Brewer
  • LB Elliot Coffey
  • LB Jerry Franklin
  • DB Duke Ihenacho
  • LB Steven Johnson
  • CB Coryell Judie
  • TE Anthony Miller
  • OT Mike Remmers
  • WR Gerell Robinson
  • G Wayne Tribue
  • G Austin Wuebbels

This group has a lot more success than the 2011 group. Aaron Brewer was the Bronco long snapper for four seasons and has been the long snapper for the Cardinals since then. Duke Ihenacho made the roster in 2012 and started thirteen games for the 2013 Broncos. He played five NFL seasons and started 25 games in his career. Steven Johnson started seven games for the Broncos in 2014 and hung around the league for six seasons mostly as a special teams player. Mike Remmers was cut by the Broncos bur made Bucs practice squad in 2012. He has arguably had the best career out of this group. He has played in games for five different NFL teams (including starting at RT for the Panthers in SB 50) and has started 90 games in NFL career. Jerry Franklin lasted three seasons in the NFL playing special teams for the Bears, Chiefs and Saints.

2013
  • RB C.J. Anderson
  • WR Kemonte’ Bateman
  • P Ryan Doerr
  • OL Manase Foketi
  • CB Aaron Hester
  • QB Ryan Katz
  • LB Uona Kaveinga
  • DE Gary Mason Jr.
  • LB Lerentee McCray
  • WR Quincy McDuffie
  • S Ross Rasner
  • TE Lucas Reed
  • LB Douglas Rippy
  • WR Lamar Thomas
  • DE John Youboty

CJ Anderson is the gem of this group. He had a nice career and was a large part of the playoff and Super Bowl teams in 2013 and 2015. The only other guy from this group that did anything in the NFL is Lerentee McCray. He was on the Bronco PS in 2013, but he made the roster in 2014 and has made a nice NFL career for himself as a special teams player for the Broncos, Bills and Jags.

2014
  • DE Kenny Anunike
  • LB Shaquil Barrett
  • RB Kapri Bibbs
  • WR Isaiah Burse
  • P Steven Clark
  • RB Brennan Clay
  • DT Mister Cobble
  • WR Bennie Fowler
  • WR Greg Hardin
  • DE Greg Latta
  • QB Bryn Renner
  • T Aslam Sterling
  • CB Jordan Sullen
  • RB Juwan Thompson
  • CB Louis Young

The gem of this group is Shaquil Barrett. It still amazes me that he went undrafted out of CSU. As a senior a CSU Barrett had 19 TFL and 12.0 sacks and was the Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year. Shaq was good in Denver, but he never got a full-time starting gig. He got that in Tampa Bay. After signing with the Bucs as a free agent in 2019, he has made the Pro Bowl twice and led the league in sacks once. He was also a huge part of the Bucs Super Bowl victory.

Bennie Fowler was another guy from this group who made some minor contributions to the Broncos. He holds the distinction of catching the last pass that Peyton Manning ever threw in the NFL. He was WR4 or WR5 for the Broncos 2014-2016. Juwan Thompson, Kapri Bibbs and Isaiah Burse all brief careers in the NFL. There was a fair amount of talent that the Broncos found in this group, but the Broncos drafts 2013, 2014 and 2015 were fairly weak so use of these guys might have been a reaction to drafting so poorly. Those three drafts (22 picks) netted seven multi-year starters on the team and one of those was Trevor Siemian. 2013 - Sly Williams; 2014 - Bradley Roby, Michael Schofield and Matt Paradis; 2015 - Jeff Heuerman, Max Garcia, and Trevor Siemian. Outside of Roby, the rest of these guys were “replacement level” starters - meaning that they would not have been starting on most NFL teams.

2015
  • LB Zaire Anderson
  • OL Dillon Day
  • WR Matt Miller
  • NT Chuka Ndulue
  • OL Connor Rains
  • OL Kyle Roberts
  • WR Jordan Taylor
  • DL Josh Watson

This group was probably the least successful group. Jordan “Sunshine” Taylor was on the practice squad in 2015, but made the team in 2016 and 2017. He is probably best known for working with Peyton Manning during his recovery from injury in 2015. Zaire Anderson, like Taylor, made the PS out of camp in 2015 but did not make the roster until 2016. The Josh Watson here is not to be confused with the Josh Watson from CSU that the Broncos signed as an undrafted guy in 2019.

2016
  • WR Bralon Addison
  • DE Vontarrius Dora
  • WR Mose Frazier
  • S Antonio Glover
  • OT Lars Hanson
  • DL Calvin Heurtelou
  • TE Henry Krieger-Coble
  • DE Shaneil Jenkins
  • LB Kyle Kragen
  • DT David Moala
  • OT Justin Murray
  • G Aaron Neary
  • LB Dwayne Norman
  • WR Durron Neal
  • TE Anthony Norris
  • NT Kyle Peko
  • WR Kalif Raymond
  • LB Frank Shannon
  • LB Sadat Sulleyman
  • LS Nathan Theus
  • CB John Tidwell
  • DE Eddie Yardbrough

This biggest success from this group is probably Justin Murray, but his success has not been with the Broncos. Murray has started twenty games in the NFL career. Kyle Peko was the guy who made the Bronco roster out of training camp, but he never started a game for the Broncos and has only started three in his NFL career (all with TEN last season). Kalif Raymond has had a decent career mostly as a returner, but he did catch 48 passes for the Lions in 2021. Vontarrius Dora had a brief career with the Broncos and Cardinals. Mose Frazier appeared in a few games for the Panthers but never caught a pass. Bralon Addison played a little for the Bears in 2016. Henry Krieger-Coble made the PS in 2016 and played a little for the Broncos that season. He played a little for the Colts in 2017.

2017
  • S Dymonte Thomas
  • OL Erik Austell
  • LB Josh Banderas
  • S Dante Barnett
  • S Jamal Carter
  • DE Ken Ekanem
  • LB Jerrol Garcia-Williams
  • LB Deon Hollins
  • OT Cameron Hunt
  • NT Tyrique Jarrett
  • WR Anthony Nash
  • CB Dontrell Nelson
  • CB Marcus Rios
  • QB Kyle Sloter
  • DL Shakir Soto
  • DB Orion Stewart
  • OL Elijah Wilkinson

This gem of this group is Elijah Wilkinson who made the team out of training camp in 2017 and appeared in nine games for the Broncos that season. He has started 27 games in his NFL career so far. Jamal Carter also made the team out of training camp. He was a big special teams contributor for the 2017 team. Dymonte Thomas made the PS and then was signed to the roster late in the season because of injuries. Kyle Sloter was “stolen” by the Vikings and currently is starting for New Orleans in the USFL after bouncing around six different NFL practice squads. Jerrol Garcia-Williams made the PS out of camp and was added to the roster as a special teamer in 2017. Tyrique Jarrett was a run-stuffer who made the PS and then was added to the roster appearing in one game (three defensive snaps) in 2017. Marcus Rios was similar. He was activated from the PS in December 2017 and was mostly a special teams guy but he did see 47 defensive snaps in 2017. None of the last three guys ever played for another team besides the Broncos.

2018
  • WR Jimmy Williams
  • LB Jeff Holland
  • OL Leon Johnson
  • RB Phillip Lindsay
  • DT Lowell Lotulelei
  • DB Trey Marshall
  • OL Austin Schlottman

The gem of this group is Phillip Lindsay. Lindsay made the team and made the Pro Bowl in 2018 rushing for 1037 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. Lindsay’s 5.4 yards per carry in 2018 was second among qualifying runners (Aaron Jones was first at 5.5). Trey Marshall also made the team although he only played 22 snaps in 2018 (all special teams). Austin Schlottmann made the practice squad and the roster in 2019. He was forced to start 4 games in 2019 after a rash of OL injuries.

Jeff Holland also made the team out of camp. and was on the roster for the entire 2018 season - seeing a total of 43 defensive snaps. He is still in the league but has been on six different teams in four seasons and he has never played in a game for a team after his snaps for Denver in 2018. A vaguely remember that Holland was a talented, but troubled player.

2019
  • RB George Aston
  • OT Quinn Bailey
  • WR Trinity Benson
  • C Ryan Crozier
  • LB Joe Dineen
  • TE Austin Fort
  • DE Ahmad Gooden
  • WR Romell Guerrier
  • CB Alijah Holder
  • RB Devontae Jackson
  • DE Jaylen Johnson
  • OG John Leglue
  • WR Kelvin McKnight
  • LB Malik Reed
  • QB Brett Rypien
  • OT Brian Wallace
  • LB Josh Watson

The best of this group is Malik Reed who has been a decent backup edge defender for the Broncos but he is never going to be a quality starter because of how poor he is against the run. Trinity Benson looked good enough in camp in 2021 that the Broncos were able to trade him to the Lions for picks. Alijah Holder, Ahmad Gooden, Quinn Bailey, Josh Watson and Brett Rypien have all played a some snaps for the Broncos. I’m sure we signed Devontae Jackson because the Broncos were trying to corner the NFL market on de-von-te(ay)’s at this time.

2020
  • QB Riley Neal
  • RB Levante Bellamy
  • WR Zimari Manning
  • WR Kendall Hinton
  • T Hunter Watts
  • CB Essang Bassey
  • S Douglas Coleman III

Essang Bassey is the best from this group. He made the roster out of camp in 2020 and appeared in twelve games, starting three. Kendall Hinton is best known for being the “starting” QB for the Broncos in 2020 against the Saints. He did make it into the Hall of Fame for this, though. Hinton was a decent WR5 in 2021 for the Broncos with 15 catches on 23 targets and one touchdown. Levante Bellamy is the only other guy from this group to play for the Broncos.

2021
  • TE Shaun Beyer
  • Edge Andre Mintze
  • LB David Curry
  • WR DeVontres Dukes
  • T Drew Himmelman
  • WR Warren Jackson
  • G Nolan Laufenberg
  • WR Branden Mack
  • DB Mac McCain III
  • FB Adam Prentice
  • LB Curtis Robinson

Only two guys from the 2021 group saw snaps for the Broncos in 2021. Andre Mintze was the guy who made the roster out of camp. His season was plagued with injuries, but he did manage to play 64 defensive snaps and 69 special teams snaps before he was placed on the IR in October. Curtis Robinson played heavily in two games in 2021 and showed that he is not ready to play ILB in the NFL. Those two games were against the Browns and the Eagles and in both games the other team ran the ball at will. Robinson was so bad against the Eagles that the Broncos released him not too long after the game. Robinson ended up on the 49ers where he didn’t play a single defensive snap.

Adam Prentice was on the Bronco PS in 2020. He was waived by the Broncos and landed with the Saints for whom he played 106 offensive snaps and 94 special teams snaps in 2021. He is one of a dying position in the NFL - a blocking fullback.

2022
  • LB Christopher Allen
  • CB Cortez Davis
  • WR Kaden Davis
  • OT Sebastian Gutierrez
  • WR Brandon Johnson
  • LB Kana’i Mauga
  • RB Tyreik McAllister
  • CB Ja’Quan McMillian
  • G Michael Niese
  • TE Dylan Parham
  • WR Jalen Virgil
  • TE Rodney Williams
  • LB Kadofi Wright

So this brings us to 2022. Most think that the Christopher Allen has the best chance to make the roster for the Broncos out of camp. Allen is listed at 6-4 250 and he was injured for most of his final season in Tuscaloosa, but he has a big part of the 2020 Crimson Tide defense contributing 13.0 TFL and 6.0 sacks. Those numbers were first and third on the team that season which was Allen’s only season as the full-time starter for Alabama.

Poll

Which UDCFA will make the 53-man roster out of training camp?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Chris Allen
    (771 votes)
  • 7%
    Ja’Quan McMillian
    (87 votes)
  • 3%
    Kadofi Wright
    (39 votes)
  • 13%
    Kana’i Mauga
    (160 votes)
  • 4%
    Jalen Virgil
    (50 votes)
  • 4%
    none of them
    (59 votes)
  • 4%
    someone else
    (59 votes)
1225 votes total Vote Now