The last preseason tilt of 2016 is finally in the books, and all that was left to take care of for Gary Kubiak and company was the unpleasant task of whittling down the Broncos roster from 75 to its final form of 53.
In doing so, the Broncos had to let go of some promising undrafted talent, as well as a couple of veterans with a good deal of NFL experience. Here's what the list looks like right now:
• John Tidwell, CB
• Vontarrius Dora. OLB
• Lars Koht, DL
• Kyle Peko, NT
• Sadat Sulleyman, OLB
• Juwan Thompson, RB/FB
• Lars Hanson, OT
• Henry Melton, DE
• Robert Myers, Jr., OG
• Mose Frazier, WR
• Dwayne Norman, ILB
• Eddie Yarbrough, OLB
• Kalif Raymond, WR/KR
• Taurean Nixon, CB
A cursory glance at that list shows that the Broncos are potentially letting a lot of talent walk out the door, but that's par for the course with a roster as deep as the Broncos.
Building a Practice Squad
In an ideal world, the Broncos would stash each one of these young guys on the practice squad. Unfortunately, there's a limit of 10 players and there's no guarantee they even make it there as any one of the 31 other clubs could poach them on waivers.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p...For what it's worth, I think Mose Frazier and Kalif Raymond are just about locks to be invited onto the practice squad. Frazier has obvious chemisty with his Memphis teammate Paxton Lynch, displaying it in the preseason with a team-high 10 receptions. Raymond, on the other hand, finally got to work with a 41-yard kickoff return last night.
On the flip side, it looks like Jordan Taylor has earned his first regular-season action with a strong, two-touchdown outburst last night. Well done, Sunshine.
The Broncos would also be wise to hang onto Sac State product Lars Hanson, who opened up holes for the backs last night and out-shined his counterpart, Kyle Roberts, all preseason. After that, the Broncos will undoubtedly try to keep Kyle Peko, who was impressive but not ready to leapfrog Darius Kilgo.
Ultimately, it'll be a competition of its own to crack the practice squad. Expect a few players to get a hard look from talent-hungry waiver-watchers.
In a heart-wrenching move, the Broncos had to let go of runningback/fullback Juwan Thompson. The writing was on the wall when Andy Janovich was drafted, but it's still tough to see the fan-favorite depart after clawing his way onto the roster two straight years.
An ideal landing spot would be with Adam Gase in runningback-starved Miami. Gase was the offensive coordinator in Thompson's rookie year and could guide him to success once again in South Beach.
It was a touch surprising, but the Broncos also showed the door to veteran defensive end Henry Melton, who they signed just over a week ago to fill depth post-Vance Walker's ACL injury. Melton went down with what looked like a dire knee injury last night, but recovered quickly enough to return to the game. In the end, the Broncos must have chosen to opt for youth over the experience of Melton.
Wheelin' and Dealin'
We know that the Broncos shopped Sanchez to the Romo-less Cowboys earlier this week, but it now appears that they are also trying to pawn off Hillman as well. A couple logical destinations would be the aforementioned Dolphins (for similar reasons to Thompson) and the Washington Redskins, who still lack a clear-cut starter at running back.
For Sanchez, there's hope that the Vikings, who now possess a tremendous void at quarterback in the post-Bridgewater world, could ship something (anything at all) in return for the veteran signal-caller. It's still not likely, but now there's at least the possibility of competition from the Cowboys and the Vikings.
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Will Keys is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.