Training camp for the Denver Broncos has only been going on for a few days, but some players have seen their stock rise. Of course, some have seen their stock fall, partially due to others rising. There are also some players who need to show something to potentially make the roster, but instead are just standing pat. There is a lot of time left and many things can change.
The first player to talk about is Cody Latimer. On Tuesday, Latimer got a little banged up after he laid out for a catch, but went right back at it a little while later. He has consistently impressed day in and day out so far. He doesn’t have to worry about his roster spot, but he is showing that he deserves more and more playing time. As long as he stays healthy, Cody Latimer can and should have a big role in this offense.
For the first player who is seeing his stock fall we go to the offensive line, particularly center. Gino Gradkowski has had high and low moments. However, his high moments are not that high, while his low moments are really low. He does know the offense, but doesn’t seem to bring much to the table besides that. His spot is in jeopardy and his losing the spot may be coming soon. I doubt he has much time to turn it around, but it is a must if he wants to keep his spot.
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That leads me to Matt Paradis. Unlike Gradkowski, Paradis has been performing consistently and doing so at a high level. He is smart and tough, and has shown both traits during practices so far. Defensive linemen Sylvester Williams has been doing great, dominating almost every opponent, but Paradis has been holding his own and shutting Williams down. As long as he keeps this up, he will end up as the starting center.
Shane Ray & Ty Sambrailo
Now for the first set of players whose stock is in stasis. These two players are the Broncos first and second round draft choices, Shane Ray and Ty Sambrailo. Shane Ray had a rough couple days to start camp off, but has slowly turned it around. However, he still keeps showing inconsistencies that you expect from a rookie.
As for Sambrailo, his offseason started off great, but his camp has been rough. While he was managing to hold his own against DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, both have turned it up and have his number. It is expected to see a rookie struggle and be inconsistent. Ray has time to fix it, but Sambrailo has to turn it around as soon as possible. His spot isn’t cemented and, while he isn’t in danger of losing it yet, that will change if it doesn’t turn around.
Another player whose stock is falling is Antonio Smith. His fall isn’t due to bad performances, it is because of a complete lack of performance. Smith has not been practicing with the team, but has been doing individual stuff to try and slowly ease him back into action. While he is doing that, a couple others on the defensive line have really stepped up and are making it hard to justify keeping the veteran.
That leads to another player on the rise, and this player has been on the rise all offseason. Kenny Anunike has been a dominating force. Even though he is technically undersized for his position and role in the defense, he uses it to his advantage and has made things harder on the offense. He is making it incredibly hard to justify keeping Antonio Smith. Anunike has been doing great things and is much younger than the veteran. Anunike has a spot while Derek Wolfe is suspended, and he should have one after that, but only time will tell.
The second to last player falling is quarterback Zac Dysert, although Tuesday’s practice was better than previous days. Monday was his worst practice by far. A lot of attention went to Brock Osweiler for having a rough day, but Dysert had a rougher day. All camp his accuracy and arm strength have been concerning.
Like Antonio Smith, Dysert's stock is suffering, due to the performance of another. Trevor Siemian was good to go to start training camp and has been doing great in limited reps. Monday was the day Siemian had to step up with Dysert and Osweiler on the down side, and he did just that. Peyton Manning did not practice, and Siemian was the best quarterback on that field.
The final faller to talk about is Shelley Smith. Again, it isn’t so much his performance, but that of others as to why he is falling. His performance doesn’t help, as it has only been solid, but not a lot of bad. As I said, it is others who are making Smith a faller.
Ben Garland has been putting in excellent work, which coincides with his great work ethic. Also, rookie Max Garcia has really been impressive and is putting heat on Garland and Smith. Although Garcia is listed as the backup right guard, he could end up at left guard. If he does, it may push Smith out and off the team.
The final group of players not making a move, either up or down, are the cornerbacks behind Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. None of Lorenzo Doss, Tony Carter, Curtis Marsh, Kayvon Webster, Taurean Nixon and Tevrin Brandon have really set themselves above the rest.
Brandon has missed two straight days of practice, which is hurting his chances, but the rest are healthy. Nixon had an interception, but that has been his highlight of camp so far. There are two spots up for grabs and right now, it is anyone’s game. There's a lot of camp left and anyone can really grab those spots.
Previously, I talked about Cody Latimer as a riser, but a good portion of the wide receiver corps have been having a great camp. Jordan Norwood is showing why he had a roster spot last year, before he got hurt. His value as a punt returner is immense and he has carved out a role on offense already, which has him sitting pretty as the fourth receiver.
UDFA Jordan Taylor has been showing all the right things and has been one of the most impressive rookies in camp so far. Bennie Fowler is showing incredible and perfect technique in all phases, but especially as a receiver. He is using his body correctly and has caught everything thrown his way.
Finally, Solomon Patton has been doing some good things, both as a returner and as a receiver. He has a shot for the practice squad, but unless Norwood gets hurt, Patton won’t be making the roster.
I started off with a riser on offense and I'm going to end with a riser on defense. Shaq Barrett has quietly been having an outstanding camp. He is showing that he deserves a roster spot and is pushing Lerentee McCray for the fourth outside linebacker spot. He has showcased a wider skill-set than McCray, that makes it seem he can be more than just a pass rusher.
Training camp has only just started and there is plenty of time for players to flip their trajectories. As the saying goes, it is not how you start, but how you finish. There is a lot of camp left and then preseason games also to help evaluate the players.
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