Offensively, the Denver Broncos do not look much improved from where they were a year ago. Last season, their offense was stuck being carried by the defense and struggled to move the ball.
The only area that looks somewhat improved is the running game, but even that is ever so slight. The individual performances were not the best offensively, despite being highly overrated by the general fanbase.
So, let us jump into the player grades and with them another quick 53 man roster prediction.
Quarterback1. Trevor Siemian: 7.1
2. Paxton Lynch: 29.3
3. Mark Sanchez: DNP
Excuse me, as I don’t get too excited over what was actually a poor performance by Trevor Siemian. How anyone can feel confident in him as a starter is beyond me.
His touchdown came on the easiest pass in recent memory after everyone on defense bought the play-action fake. Siemian had a wide open receiver in the end zone. What he did was make two NFL-starter quality throws, mixed in with a lot of bad ones.
His eyes are some of the worst I have seen when it comes to reading the field or looking off defenders. His arm strength is mediocre, with no zip on his passes. He makes bad decisions time and time again, only to get away with them due to bad defense.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1700567-broncos-name-starter-for-... His whole preseason has been below average, only to be hyped up to more than it really is. He has only two turnovers, but his total should be at least five if not for bad defense. Luck is good to have, but you need the ability to go with it.
As for Lynch, the only other quarterback to play, he flashed a lot, but also showed his is still a work in progress. With the strongest arm on the team, by far, Lynch has plenty of zip to get the ball to target quickly. However, he lacks touch when necessary.
Sanchez got the raw end of the stick. Bad dumb luck saw him to the bench when he did play and now he's likely to see his way out of Denver. With one interception (off a tipped pass), and two fumbles (from horrible blocking), his bad dumb luck is going to be the end of him.
Only Lynch and Siemian make the roster, but look for Denver to add a third veteran QB not long after letting Sanchez go.
Running Back1. C.J. Anderson: 84.4
2. Devontae Booker: 79.1
3. Ronnie Hillman: 90.3
4. Kapri Bibbs: 14.2
The running game is the only part of offense that has looked even slightly improved. Anderson has looked like himself this preseason. As long as he remains healthy, which is a bigger concern than anyone is letting on, and the blocking holds up, Anderson should easily have a 1,500-yard rushing season.
The rookie Booker will sub in for Anderson and he looks extremely tough and physical running the ball, with good speed and burst to pick up short yards in an instant.
For the first time, Hillman surpasses Bibbs and makes the roster in my predictions. After the game Hillman had, which was nearly perfect, it is hard to not see him making the roster.
What helps Hillman is that Bibbs fell of drastically with his play both on offense and special teams. His special teams is what had him making the squad over Hillman in the last prediction. Only Bibbs doesn’t make it out of this group.
Fullback1. Andy Janovich: 30.7
2. Juwan Thompson: 27.3
Both fullbacks have looked rough this preseason. The rookie Janovich also hurt his shoulder in this game. He continues to show that he is a rookie and has yet to really grab hold of the spot.
Thompson saw action as a fullback and running back. He looked good on only a few plays, and looked rather poor for the rest. If Janovich’s shoulder is serious, both could make the roster.
As it is, I expect only Janovich to make it even if the shoulder is bad and will cause him to miss a few weeks. They can always plug a tight end there to get by until Janovich comes back.
Wide Receiver1. Demaryius Thomas: 88.7
2. Emmanuel Sanders: 91.9
3. Bennie Fowler: DNP
4. Cody Latimer: 80.2
5. Jordan Taylor: 78.7
6. Jordan Norwood: 42.1
7. DeVier Posey: 55.6
8. Mose Frazier: 73.9
9. Kalif Raymond 9.2
10. Bralon Addison: 6.3
11. Durron Neal: 21.1
The receiver position for Denver is pretty much set. The only decision comes from five or six receivers. The top-six receivers have separated themselves from the other five, and there is a good margin between the two groups.
Addison and Raymond both had shots on special teams as a returner, and they blew it. Neal and Frazier have barely seen the field, although in the recent win Frazier showed enough to get practice squad consideration.
The other four rookies didn’t show anything except what not to do when trying to make a roster in the recent win. Posey had some really good moments, but not enough to really gain ground. None of these five make the roster.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1700664-broncos-cut-11-ahead-of-d... Thomas played well, and despite everyone trying to blame him for bad throws, he only had one bad catch attempt. It wasn’t a drop, but Thomas put his hands out in the wrong place to try and catch the ball, which knocked the bottom of his palm.
He made up for that later with a spectacular one-handed catch. There were multiple attempts from Thomas to try and catch horribly-placed passes, and it was nice to see the fight and desire in him again.
Sanders was Sanders and did more of what he did last year—make the quarterback look better. Fowler didn’t play and Latimer was playing really well before he got hurt.
That leaves Norwood and Taylor, the two fighting for the fifth spot, if Denver only keeps six. Taylor played well, while Norwood was average. Norwood has a leg up on Taylor as he also is the returner. I fully expect Denver to keep all six though.
Tight End1. Virgil Green: 90.2
2. John Phillips: 89.1
3. Jeff Heuerman: DNP
4. Henry Krieger-Coble: 87.9
5. Garrett Graham: DNP
6. Manesseh Garner: DNP
The tight end corps looked really good for those who did see the field. All three of Green, Phillips and Krieger-Coble looked more than deserving to make the squad.
Green’s route-running was excellent and he helped sell a play-action perfectly to get wide open for an easy touchdown catch. Phillips showcased his blocking and flashed ability as a receiver.
The rookie flashed in all phases and really stood out to me on special teams. The other three did not play, two of which were due to injury. Four of these guys make it, with Heuerman joining Green, Phillips and Krieger-Coble.
Graham just hasn’t been available and the best ability is availability. That pushes him off the roster.
Offensive Tackle1. Russell Okung: 61.9
2. Donald Stephenson: 68.9
3. Ty Sambrailo: DNP
4. Darrion Weems: DNP
5. Lars Hanson: 39.8
6. Cameron Jefferson: 12.2
7. Kyle Roberts: 17.2
8. Justin Murray DNP
This group isn’t much better than what Denver started with last year. Okung is cemented as the left tackle, but he had a really rough game against a good Rams defensive line.
On the right side, we saw Stephenson play very up and down all game. He started off strong, but faltered as the game went on. Behind them sits Sambrailo, who many thought would be at guard, but he has been booted from that spot.
With the depth being a big concern at tackle, Sambrailo should be moved back. He does provide depth at guard as well. Weems is under concussion protocol so he didn’t play, but he provides depth at tackle and guard as well.
I expect those four to make it, so long as the Sambrailo elbow injury and Weems concussion aren't worse than what is being let on. As for the rest of these tackles, none of them have shown anything that is worth considering keeping them on the practice squad, let alone the roster.
Offensive Guard1. Michael Schofield: 98.9
2. Max Garcia: 41.0
3. Connor McGovern: 23.4
4. Aaron Neary: 29.2
5. Robert Myers: 78.2
6. Mathu Gibson: N/A
Schofield played a near perfect game against a very tough Rams defensive line. He should have cemented himself as the starter at right guard, even after Sambrailo comes back, who should be the swing tackle.
Garcia played really poorly at left guard, but no one else is around to compete with him to take over the starting job there. If Sambrailo and Weems are not worse than is being let on, I think Denver runs with just Garcia and Schofield at guard, due to Weems' and Sambrailo's capability of playing guard and tackle.
McGovern has played well off and on and should be able to lock up a practice squad if they do only keep two at guard. Neary and Myers have flashed potential but both are rather raw with a lot of work needed.
They could be in line for a practice squad spot. I would think only one of those two make the practice squad. As for Gibson, he was brought in late and hasn’t seen the field, and was among Monday's first cuts.
Center1. Matt Paradis: 70.1
2. James Ferentz: DNP
3. Dillon Day: 32.8
Day kept up his bad play from the loss to the 49ers, but it was slightly better than his first two showings. Paradis showed why he is the starter, despite some bad plays out on the field.
I would expect Denver to roll with Paradis and Ferentz here, letting Day hit the road. His play hasn’t shown the value in keeping him around on the practice squad.That would have 25 players on offense, but that number could be different depending on injuries. That leaves 28 for defense and special teams, but special teams is simple and only takes three spots, as Brandon McManus and Casey Kreiter are set to make it at kicker and long snapper due to no competition.