Training camp starts later today, but first, I am going to take my best shot at projecting the Denver Broncos' 53-man roster. I think the majority of the roster is already set, but there are a few tight roster battles that figure to be settled in the coming days and weeks.
So, here is what I think the Broncos' 53-man roster will look like as they head into week one of the 2022 NFL season.
- Russell Wilson and Josh Johnson
Thoughts: Russell Wilson is your starter at quarterback. Still really hasn’t completely sunk in that we have left quarterback purgatory but it’s true. His backup, who we hopefully only see in blowout wins, figures to be veteran journeyman Josh Johnson. He was signed during free agency and should beat out Brett Rypien for the job.
I could see the Broncos potentially signing someone else post-cuts, but as for now, I think the backup will be Josh Johnson.
- Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon, and Mike Boone
Thoughts: The same three backs that were on the Broncos roster return again this season. Javonte Williams figures to take over as the lead back while veteran Melvin Gordon will be his 1B. Mike Boone, a special teams ace as well as a speedy back will be the Broncos' third back.
I don’t foresee any other backs on the roster to make it, but I could see them adding a fourth back via waivers/free agency after cuts.
- Andrew Beck
Thoughts: With the Broncos bringing back the west coast offense we should see the fullback used a bit more in this scheme. Andrew Beck is the only fullback on the roster and has had that role for a few years now, I believe he is the guy.
With that said, I could easily see the Broncos moving on from Beck if they view another available fullback as a better option. Fullbacks are a dying breed so talented ones can become available if that team decides not to use one.
Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Tyrie Cleveland, and Montrell Washington
Thoughts: This is the Broncos' deepest unit by far and it’s a tough one to predict. After the first four of Sutton, Patrick, Jeudy, and Hamler, I think the Broncos will focus on special teams for the final two spots. Tyrie Cleveland’s special team play has been mentioned throughout the spring, so I have a hard time seeing them moving on from him. Rounding out the group is rookie kick/punt returner Montrell Washington who is all but a lock to make the team.
Unfortunately, I do not really see a spot for Broncos Hall Of Famer Kendall Hinton. If the Broncos keep seven receivers, he’s next to make it, but I don’t see it. Cleveland and Washington make it because of their special teams contributions and I don’t see Hinton doing enough to make the Broncos move on from them. This will be a tough unit to crack.
- Albert Okwuegbunam, Greg Dulcich, Eric Tomlinson, and Eric Saubert
Thoughts: Albert O. figures to be the Broncos starter while explosive rookie tight end Greg Dulcich figures to see consistent playing as well. Neither of these two is known for their blocking skills so this is where blocking specialists Eric Tomlinson and Eric Saubert come into play
The Broncos figure to utilize the tight ends more this season so we should see all four play at least a little bit this upcoming season.
- Garett Bolles, Billy Turner, Calvin Anderson, and Tom Compton
Thoughts: This unit appears to be already set. Bolles returns as your left tackle while former Broncos lineman Billy Turner will slide in as the Broncos' right tackle. Calvin Anderson will be your swing tackle while Tom Compton will be the versatile backup who can play inside or outside. I do not see much else changing here.
- Dalton Risner, Quinn Meinerz, Graham Glasgow, and Netane Muti
Thoughts: I think we will see Dalton Risner and Quinn Meinerz as your starters this season with the veteran Glasgow serving as versatile depth. He can play either guard spot as well as center. I’m 50/50 on Netane Muti making the team as he’s a bit of an odd fit in the blocking scheme, but for now, I have him making the team.
I could see Ben Braden making it over Muti because of his experience with Nathaniel Hackett in Green Bay. The interior competition should be something to watch as we progress through training camp.
- Lloyd Cushenberry and Luke Wattenberg
Thoughts: Probably the group I’m most concerned about. Cushenberry hasn’t been great and is facing competition from the veteran Glasgow and others for his starting job. Also, the rookie Wattenberg figures to make the team and potentially even push for the job as well. So, this will be a position to watch during camp.
- Dre’Mont Jones, D.J. Jones, Eyioma Uwazurike, DeShawn Williams, Matt Henningsen, and Mike Purcell
Thoughts: This is an interesting positional group to watch during camp. There are a lot of questions, possible changes, and plenty of upside to watch unfold here. First, Dre’Mont Jones and D.J. Jones are your starters at along the defensive line. Dre’Mont will play end while D.J. Jones figures to be your nose tackle. That final spot in the 3-4 defensive look will be decided in camp.
After that, DeShawn Williams likely is your other starter but at the very least, he will be a versatile backup. After that, I have the Broncos' two rookies making the team. Eyioma Uwazurike could push for a starting job while the athletic Henningsen should crack the 53-man roster. After that,
I have Mike Purcell making the team as well. I’m not sure if he will actually make the team. I could see him cut or traded and the Broncos adding someone post cuts to fill out the unit, but we shall see how it plays out.
- Bradley Chubb, Randy Gregory, Nik Bonitto, Jonathon Cooper, and Baron Browning
Thoughts: Likely the most competitive and potentially deepest group on the roster but also the one with the most question marks. I have Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory making the roster and being your starters. Second-round rookie Nik Bonnito and second-year players Baron Browning and Jonathon Cooper rounding out the group at edge rusher.
The notable omission here is Malik Reed. He’s a solid player but the numbers game makes it tough to keep him. I think he’s the Broncos' best trade chip and could be flipped for a player or picks during the cutdown period. I certainly can see a scenario where he stays, but keeping six edge rushers would be a lot.
- Josey Jewell, Jonas Griffith, and Alex Singleton
Thoughts: This group is another that seems already penciled in. Josey Jewell was re-signed and is viewed as a leader on the defensive side of the ball. Emerging player Jonas Griffith also makes the team and likely gets some starting reps with the defense. Rounding out the group is tackling machine Alex Singleton who figures to make his impact on special teams.
I would also view Baron Browning as additional depth here as well.
- Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Darby, K’Waun Williams, Michael Ojemudia, and Damarri Mathis
Thoughts: Another group that doesn’t look too hard to figure out. Your three starters appear to be Surtain II, Darby, and Williams, while Ojemudia and the rookie Mathis provide depth.
Could we see a sixth corner making it? Sure, but I think they’ll go with the extra safety because of special teams but we shall see how it plays out.
The UDFA rookie Ja’Quan McMillian is a bit of a dark horse to watch here. He’s a ball-hawking slot corner who could impress during camp and the preseason.
Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Caden Sterns, Delarrin Turner-Yell, and P.J. Locke
Thoughts: Simmons, Jackson, and potentially Sterns are your starting safeties/players who figure to get the most playing time from this unit. The rookie Turner-Yell and P.J. Locke will contribute on special teams.
I could see J.R. Reed making it over Locke here, but we shall see how it goes. Jamar Johnson will really need to impress if he wants to make this team. Hopefully, we see some improvement from him.
- Brandon McManus, Sam Martin, and Jacob Bobenmoyer
Thoughts: McManus, the Broncos' longtime kicker returns as one of the better kickers in the NFL and will continue to boot field goals from long distances. The veteran Sam Martin returns for his third season with the Broncos and will continue to stabilize the punter position for them. Lastly, we have Jacob Bobenmoyer serving as the long snapper. I don’t recall him having any bad snaps since he has been with the Broncos so keep up the good work Jacob!