Denver Broncos Pre-Camp Roster Breakdown & Prediction: Defense & Special Teams

Senior Analyst Erick Trickel breaks down the Denver Broncos roster as it currently stands post-Draft. We started with the offense but now it's time to analyze the strength of the team — defense.

Defensive Line

Jared CrickDerek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis, Zach Kerr, DeMarcus Walker, Billy Winn, Domata Peko, Kyle Peko, Tyrique Jarrett, Shakir Soto.

After it being a weakness for the Broncos a year ago, the team put a focus on helping the defensive line with two free agent signings and a draft pick. Games are won and lost in the trenches.

Zach Kerr and Domata Peko are two big guys who can come in and help right away. Jared Crick and Derek Wolfe were starters last year, and played well.

Adam Gotsis was recovering from an ACL but is good to go this year and the coaching staff has loved the work he has put in, though it is still early. There's a lot of young talent here, led by rookie DeMarcus Walker and the undrafted second-year Kyle Peko fighting for the low end of the totem pole.

Depth Chart Prediction: Wolfe, Kerr, Gotsis, Crick, D. Peko, Walker, Winn, and K. Peko.

Jarrett and Soto land a practice squad spot.

Rush Linebackers

Kasim Edebali, Von Miller, Deon Hollins, Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett, Vontarrius Dora, Ken Ekanem.

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The pass rush is far from a Broncos weakness, but they lost DeMarcus Ware and special teams ace Dekoda Watson. There might be some trial and error in replacing those two.

Obviously, Von Miller is a star, and Shane Ray is expected to step up. Shaq Barrett will get an increased role and Kasim Edebali is being looked at to replace Watson’s special teams play. 2016 preseason star Vontarrius Dora will compete with UDFAs Ken Ekanem and Deon Hollins for the final spot.

Depth Chart Prediction: Miller, Ray, Barrett, Dora, Edebali.

Hollins and Ekanem get to compete for a practice squad spot.

Inside Linebackers

Brandon Marshall, Todd Davis, Corey Nelson, Zaire Anderson, Quentin Gause, Kevin Snyder, Josh Banderas, Jerrol Garcia-Williams.

While fans may not take kindly to him, the Broncos really like what Todd Davis brings to the table next to Brandon Marshall. After Davis is an open competition with Corey Nelson and Zaire Anderson leading the way.

The Broncos are excited to see Quentin Gause, and like the team likes Josh Banderas a lot. They like Banderas so much they considered drafting him with their last couple picks. Garcia-Williams and Snyder have an uphill battle.

Depth Chart Prediction: Marshall, Davis, Nelson, Anderson.

Banderas and Gause land practice squad spots with Snyder and Garcia-Williams on the outs.


Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Jr, Bradley Roby, Brendan Langley, Lorenzo Doss, Taurean Nixon, Marcus Rios.

Another position of strength for the Broncos is cornerback but they lost Kayvon Webster, their No. 4 corner and special teams ace. It is a pretty clear order for the Broncos here, with some competition for the last two spots, though those seem solidified as well.

Depth Chart Prediction: Talib, Harris, Roby, Langley, Doss.

Nixon and Rios compete for a practice squad spot with Nixon likely winning it.


T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart, Justin Simmons, Will Parks, Orion Stewart, Dante Barnett, Jamal Carter, Dymonte Thomas.

The Broncos safeties are important for the success of the defense. They have a talented group that has youth mixed with veterans.

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However, they also looked at depth with their undrafted free agent signings. They dished out big money — for an undrafted player — to secure the services of Jamal Carter and brought in three other undrafted safeties. The depth chart for the season seems set, though, barring injuries or surprises.

Depth Chart Prediction: Ward, Stewart, Simmons, Parks.

Carter lands a spot on the practice squad with Orion Stewart, Barnett and Thomas competing for another practice squad spot.

Special Teams

Brandon McManus, Riley Dixon, Casey Kreiter.

There is literally no competition here. Brandon McManus is the kicker, but he still needs to sign his tender. Riley Dixon, the second-year punter, is coming off an impressive rookie campaign and Casey Krieter remains the team's lone long-snapper.

Erick Trickel is the Senior Draft Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ErickTrickel.

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