In the NFL, teams are allowed to carry 90 players on the roster into training camp—then they have to cut down to 75, then the final 53 at the end of the preseason. The Denver Broncos are sitting at 90 players, so how does their depth chart currently look?
Also, which players have the edge to make the 53 man roster for the regular season? Let us jump into the depth chart look at the way-too-early 53-man roster projection. A lot can change between now and when the teams have to have their 53-man roster set, so this early projection is likely to see some drastic changes.
Currently on the roster: 3
Projected 53-man roster: 3
Analysis: As it sits right now, Sanchez will be the starting quarterback to begin the season. It will take some great showings from Lynch to take over the starting spot. Siemian will get his shot to compete, but still likely lands himself as the third quarterback on the roster.
With the scheme that the Broncos run, which is very quarterback friendly, it could see either Lynch or Sanchez start and be very successful, especially with the talent they will have around them. All three quarterbacks have their issues, but cutting the field in half by design can help out any quarterback.
Doing just that saw quarterbacks Jake Plummer and Matt Schaub have career years in this system, among many other quarterbacks. If Denver feels comfortable with letting Siemian hit the waiver wire and being able to bring him back on the practice squad, they could roll with only two quarterbacks. However, I see that possibility as slim-to-none.
Analysis: When the Broncos put an original round tender on Anderson, they risked losing him, and they nearly did. However, they ended up matching an offer and now have Anderson on a four-year deal. He will be the starter, but there is competition for who his two backups will be.
Booker was a fourth round pick in this past draft, and should be in control of the No. 2 spot. Re-signed Hillman has experience, which could see him as the No. 2 back, but he currently sits as the No. 3 guy—with a leg up on the others.
Thompson has been unable to crack a role on offense, while Bibbs has been on the practice squad, or the low man on the depth chart. Gray is the unknown here in the competition, but it doesn’t bode well for him with the talent the Broncos have in front of him. With them carrying a full time fullback, it is hard to see Denver carrying more than three running backs.
Analysis: The Broncos drafted Janovich in the sixth round and really like what he brings to the table. Hard to see him not end up being the starter when the regular season comes around.
As for Garner, he has moved around from position to position in the NFL. He started off as a receiver, then went to tight end and now sees reps as a fullback. I find it doubtful he competes with Janovich to start on the 53-man roster.
- Demaryius Thomas
- Emmanuel Sanders
- Bennie Fowler
- Cody Latimer
- Jordan Norwood
- Jordan Taylor
- DeVier Posey
- Bralon Addison
- Mose Frazier
- Kalif Raymond
- Durron Neal
Analysis: Obviously, Thomas and Sanders are locked for the upcoming season. Behind them, Fowler is a good bet to make it, with how inexpensive and effective he is.
Latimer likely makes it due to his worth as a special teams player and his draft pedigree, but he has yet to really show his value as a receiver. Behind them is a very open competition, including multiple players competing for a returner position, but more on that when we get to special teams.
Norwood has a leg up on everyone else as the primary slot receiver. Taylor and Posey have some experience in the NFL, which the others—all rookies—do not have.
Analysis: There are a lot of unknowns regarding Denver's tight ends corps. The top tight end is entering his second year, after spending his rookie year on injured reserve, due to a serious knee injury.
There are high hopes for Heuerman, but until he sees the field, there is some cause for concern. Green hasn’t been able to crack a role on offense, outside of being the blocking tight end.
The Broncos went out and picked up a veteran—who has produced in this system—as an emergency option. Right now, undrafted rookie Krieger-Coble is set to make the roster, if they carry four tight ends. Of course, there is still time they could add another tight end closer to training camp, or even in training camp to compete for a spot.
- Russell Okung
- Donald Stephenson
- Michael Schofield
- Darrion Weems
- Kyle Roberts
- Cameron Jefferson
- Lars Hanson
- Justin Murray
Analysis: The two starters here are Okung at left tackle and Stephenson at right tackle. Behind them sits Schofield, who has a leg up on the competition due to experience.
Many will give Schofield flack for his performance last year, and rightfully so. However, before the playoffs started the coaching staff found a flaw in his technique that they worked to fix. Once they did, there was a drastic improvement from Schofield for the playoffs, so hopefully that flaw was the issue and he keeps improving with more time.
Weems or Roberts would be the two with the best chance to beat out Schofield, but that seems like a long shot. The rest are fighting for a practice squad spot, or spots. Jefferson and Hanson are the better talents over Murray, and have the higher upside. (For more on Hanson and Murray, make sure to read my analysis on the rookies).
Analysis: The guard position is pretty much set for the 53-man roster. Sambrailo, Garcia and McGovern will all compete for the two starting positions, with the third being the backup.
Sambrailo started at tackle last year, before injuries landed him on injured reserve. He provides depth at tackle too, in case of emergency. Garcia and McGovern are capable of playing anywhere on the interior offensive line.
Myers and Neary are high-upside players, but both are projects. Myers, originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, ended up on the Broncos practice squad last year, and they really seem to like his progress. Neary is an interior offensive linemen capable of guard or center, and he joined the Broncos this year as an undrafted free agent.
Analysis: The starting center spot is firmly claimed by Paradis, and he would have to completely fall apart in order for him to lose it. Last year, he was the lone survivor on the offensive line, playing every single snap.
Behind him is an open competition between Ferentz and Brenner, both of whom were on the 53-man roster a year ago. Ferentz saw very limited action during the season, but mostly lined up as a fullback in jumbo sets. Meanwhile, Brenner was often a game-day inactive and Day was on the practice squad.
Total Offensive Roster Spots: 24
Ideally, the Broncos will only want to keep only eight offensive linemen on the 53-man roster, but that depends on everyone being healthy. The five starters, plus three backups who can play two-or-more spots on the offensive line is often the plan for teams when building rosters, especially in the modern era.
The Broncos carry a lot of versatility on their offensive line with Sambrailo and Stephenson able to play tackle and guard. McGovern, Brenner, Ferentz, and Garcia fall into that ‘more than one spot’ type of offensive linemen.
Check back later for my roster analysis on the defensive side of the ball.
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