The Denver Broncos have a strong roster, especially on defense. However, they have suffered some losses from their Super Bowl-winning roster and opened up places for open competition.
Not all of their position battles come within the first string, as they have many lower on their depth chart. There won’t be predictions for who wins the jobs here. For those, you will have to see my upcoming pre-training camp 53-man roster prediction.
The first battle that is going to be looked at is for a starting position, and not the one you probably may be thinking. We're going to the defensive side of the ball, at defensive end.
There are many players the Broncos can look at to take over for Malik Jackson to start opposite of Derek Wolfe. Sylvester Williams, who started at nose tackle and played great there last year, Vance Walker, who also started and played well when Wolfe was suspended last year, newcomer Jared Crick and rookie Adam Gotsis are all players the Broncos defensive coaching staff can look at there.
Regarding Williams, a lot depends on how Phil Taylor does as the nose tackle. If Taylor shows to be capable of it, then they could look to get Williams in the starting lineup at a new position. Last year, Williams played some great football as the nose tackle, so they very well could want to keep him there.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... Putting Williams as the other 5-tech really adds beef to their defensive line, adding well over 50 pounds between Williams and Taylor from what they had last year. The favorite to land the spot for many is Walker. In Wolfe’s stead, Walker played really well and continued to excel when Wolfe returned.
Walker’s play actually improved when subbing in, more so than his time as a full time starter. Keeping him as a sub could maximize his ability. Crick came over on a cheap deal from the Houston Texans, and is an addition few are talking about.
In four years, Crick has played in all but one game (63-of-64 in regular season), but only accumulated 5.5 sacks over that time. He plays well against the run, but struggles getting after the quarterback. It's hard to see him competing for more than a sub role.
Finally there is the second round rookie Gotsis. Since he is still dealing with injury recovery, it is an uphill battle. He could end up seeing his rookie season lost to being placed on injured reserve. However, D-line coach Bill Kollar loves the kid so anything's possible.
Sanchez is the favorite here, and you know what you will get from him. He will make some nice plays, but will make mistakes. Siemian will have to show he has drastically improved in many areas from his showing in preseason last year in order to get serious thought to becoming the starter.
Accuracy, decision making, composure, footwork, eyes and motion are all areas of work for Siemian. The true tests for him will come in preseason action.
Another loss on defense came at inside linebacker, which is where the next battle to pay attention to comes from. Danny Trevathan left, but it isn’t his spot that needs filling.
Davis has gotten some starting opportunities and looked good in those opportunities. He made mistakes, but how he overcame them and turned his play around was astonishing.
His main competition comes from Corey Nelson, who has looked decent in his limited playing time on defense. But the sleeper is Zaire Anderson, a former undrafted rookie, but he is a long shot and has a lot to continue to improve. He is competing more for a backup position than the starting role.
The second to last position battle is essentially a starting role, due to how much it is used on defense. That is the No. 3 safety spot.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1687086-film-room-kayvon-webster-... Denver lost David Bruton in free agency, but they drafted a couple of really talented, young players in Justin Simmons and Will Parks. Those two will compete with veteran Shiloh Keo for the third safety spot.
Simmons is the favorite here, as he brings exactly what the Broncos want from their third safety. Don’t be surprised if he wins the job and does so quite easily.
The final battle to be looked at is guard. Denver drafted Ty Sambrailo a year ago, and he played at left tackle before getting hurt and placed on injured reserve.
Now the Broncos have signed two players to play at offensive tackle and moved Sambrailo to guard. They also drafted guard Connor McGovern, who will be competing with Sambrailo for a starting position.
Max Garcia is also involved, but he seems to be pretty cemented as the left guard for the upcoming season.
There are plenty of other battles to keep an eye on, but these five are the really important ones.
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