Takeaways From Broncos First Depth Chart

The Denver Broncos released their first depth chart before their first game on Friday, August 14th. MHH Analyst Erick Trickel gives his takeaways..

With the release of the Denver Broncos first depth chart, there are not many surprises, but there is a lot to take away from it. Coaches often say not to look too deep into the preseason depth charts, and Gary Kubiak is one of them.

However, these depth charts do not appear out of thin air and often reflect thoughts of the coaching staff after the first few practices. Of course once the games start, a lot can change on the depth chart, as games show more than practice.


Depth chart order: Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, Trevor Siemian.

No surprises here. The only possible change that could come is Siemian over Dysert. In practices Siemian has looked great, while Dysert has been up and down. Any movement between those two will come due to game performances. As for Manning and Osweiler, they are the No. 1 and No. 2 and nothing will change that but injury.

Running Back

Depth chart order: C.J. Anderson, Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Juwan Thompson, Jeremy Stewart, Kapri Bibbs.

No big surprises here. Anderson is pretty much cemented as the top running back, with Ball behind him. Having Hillman with the third team is a small surprise, except he has turned it around the last few days of practice, especially since coach Kubiak told him to practice and finish harder.

The surprise comes from him sitting ahead of Thompson, who has had a really good camp. At the bottom sit Stewart and Bibbs, who also have had good camps. Denver is deep at running back and could potentially look to move one of them to the Houston Texans or Arizona Cardinals.

More Broncos Camp Stories

As for the pecking order, there is potential for a lot of moves after the first two spots, and even a slight potential for Ball to be unseated.


Depth Chart order: James Casey, Joe Don Duncan.

No surprises here either. Casey has been quietly having a strong camp, as has Duncan. The difference comes down to experience, especially the experience in the scheme. Don’t expect any changes here. However, that doesn’t mean Duncan has no chance to make the roster.

Wide Receiver

Depth chart order: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Caldwell, Cody Latimer, Nathan Palmer, Jordan Norwood, Bennie Fowler, Isaiah Burse, Corbin Louks, Jordan Taylor, Solomon Patton.

Here is where the surprises come. Thomas and Sanders are the top two but Caldwell as the No. 3 receiver is a shock, especially being ahead of Latimer. Also, it's surprising to see Palmer ahead of Norwood. Latimer has been having a great camp, while Caldwell has just been reliable. It's a similar situation between Palmer and Norwood, except Palmer hasn’t had the best camp.

Fowler has been consistent and showing great hands, so seeing him where he’s at isn’t a surprise, but being behind Palmer is. Really, I am unsure as to why Palmer is where he is and above some of those he is ahead of. Taylor and Patton being at the bottom is the biggest surprise of the whole position group.

Both have been having stellar camps, yet they are behind a recently acquired Louks and a struggling Burse. One explanation as to why Patton and Taylor are so low, is to give them limited playing time and try to sneak them through to the practice squad. Denver is deep at the receiver position, and a lot of movement can happen once the games start.

Tight Ends

Depth chart order: Owen Daniels, Virgil Green, Dominique Jones, Marcel Jensen, Jeff Heuerman.

No surprises here. Daniels and Green are set as the top two, and will see close to equal playing time. Jones and Jensen are in a battle, but Jones has put together a couple strong performances, while Jensen has primarily been invisible. As for Heuerman, he suffered a season ending injury and cannot go straight to injured reserve yet, without being subject to waivers.

Offensive Tackle

Depth chart order: Ty Sambrailo, Ryan Harris, Chris Clark, Michael Schofield, Kyle Roberts, Charles Sweeton.

Also no surprises here. Sambrailo has been struggling in practice, but before a switch is made, the coaches probably want to see him in-game. If he continues to struggle in-game, the switch can be made for Clark.

As for Harris and Schofield at the right tackle, both are pretty much set at their spots. At the bottom sit Roberts and Sweeton, both of whom are unlikely to manage to move up.

Offensive Guard

Depth chart order: Louis Vasquez, Max Garcia, Ben Garland, Shelley Smith, Andre Davis, Dillon Day.

Nothing real surprising here. Vasquez is cemented at his right guard position. After a strong few days, Garcia earned a starting job. Garland who has been good, but inconsistent, sits as his backup, while Smith backs up Vasquez.

Smith is primarily a left guard and has experience, but will backup up the right guard position behind one of the most experience players along the offensive line. That doesn’t bode well for Smith, but does bode well for Garland. Davis is listed at both guard positions, and Day is also listed as a backup center. Some movement can happen here, though I don’t expect it. Center

Dept chart order: Matt Paradis, Gino Gradkowski, Dillon Day.

Nothing surprising here. Paradis earned the starting spot over a struggling Gradkowski and Day sits behind them both. Unless Paradis starts to struggle, don’t expect any movement.

That wraps up the offensive side of the ball. Now time for the defensive side.

Defensive End

Depth chart order: Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson, Vance Walker, Antonio Smith, Kenny Anunike, Chuka Ndulue, Josh Watson.

Nothing surprising here. Wolfe and Jackson are the starters and will stay that way, with the exception of Wolfe during his suspension. Walker will be a key backup. It is slightly surprising to see Smith ahead of Anunike, simply because of how little time Smith has spent with the team, but he has the experience to make up for it.

Ndulue and Watson are at the bottom and unlikely to change. I see no movement here, except maybe Walker ahead of Wolfe just to prepare for when Wolfe is suspended. Also can see Anunike beating out Smith, but that is a longshot to happen.

Nose Tackle

Depth chart order: Sylvester Williams, Darius Kilgo, Sione Fua, Marvin Austin.

The biggest surprise here is perhaps Austin behind Kilgo and recently added Fua, except Austin has been hurt and unable to practice. Kilgo has taken steps forward and is showing promise, while Williams is showing signs of being worth the first round pick the Broncos used on him not too long ago. Don’t expect much movement, except Austin potentially jumping ahead of Fua, if health allows.

Outside Linebacker

Depth chart order: Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray, Lerentee McCray, Shaquil Barrett, Gerald Rivers, Danny Mason, Chase Vaughn.

This is pretty much what everyone could have guessed. Miller, Ware and Ray are as expected. The only thing that can be a surprise is McCray ahead of Barrett. Barrett has been having a good camp, while McCray has missed multiple days due to injury.

Rivers, Mason and Vaughn are all having solid camps, but the position is deep and they have an uphill battle. Not much movement can be expected. If any, it will come from McCray and Barrett.

Inside Linebacker

Depth chart order: Brandon Marshall, Danny Trevathan, Todd Davis, Steven Johnson, Corey Nelson, Lamin Barrow, Reggie Walker, Zaire Anderson.

Yet again, there is nothing surprising here. Trevathan and Marshall are the first team linebackers, but won’t see preseason action, due to injury. Davis and Johnson have really stepped up as their primary backups, and they continue to hold those spots.

Second-year players Nelson and Barrow are behind them, and followed by veteran Walker and undrafted rookie Anderson. Hard to see any movement here. The position is pretty much set in stone. The only movement would happen at the bottom of the depth chart, but that is even unlikely.


Depth chart order: Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, Kayvon Webster, Tony Carter, Curtis Marsh, Lorenzo Doss, Tevrin Brandon, Taurean Nixon.

Some surprises here, but all at the bottom of the depth chart. Talib, Harris, Roby and Webster are all pretty much set. After them however, there is a spot up for grabs. Marsh has been having a good camp, as has Doss and Nixon. Carter hasn’t really been visible, so seeing him ahead of players performing is intriguing.

Finally, Brandon being ahead of Nixon is also a tad surprising. Brandon missed a few days with a shoulder injury and hasn’t really stood out, while Nixon has. Once the games start, a lot can change. After the first four is where the movement, is any, will occur. Cornerbacks are hard to get an accurate read on in practice. You have to see them in-game to get an accurate picture of their ability.

Free Safety

Depth chart order: Darian Stewart, Omar Bolden, Ross Madison.

No surprises here. Stewart has cemented himself as the starter. Meanwhile, Bolden has really stepped up in practice as a safety. Madison is on the outside looking in. Also, don’t expect any movement unless an injury occurs.

Strong Safety

Depth chart order: T.J. Ward, David Bruton, Josh Bush, Josh Furman.

Also no surprises here. Ward is the starter with Bruton as the No. 3 safety behind him and Stewart. Bush and Furman are having a battle for the third spot, but both are unlikely to make the roster. It's hard to see any movement here.

That wraps up the defensive side of the ball, not to the final depth chart, special teams.


Depth chart order: Connor Barth.

The only surprise here is that Brandon McManus isn’t listed as a kicker behind Barth. Barth and McManus have been having a battle in camp. Barth seems to have the edge as a field goal kicker.

Kickoff Specialist

Depth chart order: Brandon McManus.

McManus managed to stay on the roster last season due to his powerful leg on kickoffs. Barth has the edge on field goals, but McManus has the edge on kickoffs.

Who Was The Biggest Depth Chart Surprise? SOUND OFF IN THE FORUMS!


Depth chart order: Britton Colquitt.

Once the Broncos parted ways with Karl Schmitz, the spot became Colquitt’s. Colquitt is also listed as the only holder, which may be the most surprising thing on the depth chart.

Long snapper

Depth chart order: Aaron Brewer.

Brewer is the only long snapper on-roster and was recently signed to an extension. He has no competition and has been a stable performer as the long snapper.

Kick returner

Depth chart order: Omar Bolden, Andre Caldwell, Solomon Patton, Jordan Norwood, Isaiah Burse, Corbin Louks.

Bolden has a leg up on the competition. Caldwell being ahead of Patton and Norwood is surprising, given his failures there a year ago. Burse and Louks are longshots to make the squad, and their position in the pecking order as a returner doesn’t help. I can see some movement coming with Norwood and Patton moving up, while Caldwell falls down the depth chart.

Punt Returner

Depth chart order: Omar Bolden, Solomon Patton, Isaiah Burse, Jordan Norwood, Corbin Louks, Jordan Taylor.

The coaching staff wants to give Bolden a shot at both returner positions, which explains him getting the top spot. Patton has really stepped up and is doing great things as a returner, so no surprise he is second. Burse is the Caldwell of punt returners. He failed last year and eventually got replaced.

Norwood has been doing great things in camp, so it is surprising to see him behind Burse. Louks and Taylor being at the bottom doesn’t bode well for them as a returner, but Taylor has hopes, due to his play as a receiver. The only movement I can see here is Norwood getting ahead of Burse and maybe Bolden falling if he fails.

Be sure to check out the ever-growing benefit package of being a Mile High Huddle Insider! Check it out HERE.

Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @Alaskan_Bronco. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook.

Follow MileHighHuddle on Twitter @MileHighHuddle and become a subscriber to receive access to premium content and discounted Broncos tickets and merchandise.

Mile High Huddle Top Stories