One position that I’ve been extremely intrigued by for the Broncos this offseason is at wide receiver.
We all know about Pro Bowlers Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker, the team’s prized offseason acquisition. We all know about Eric Decker, who had his first 1,000 plus yard season last year, along with a team leading 13 touchdown grabs.
What we don’t know–or, didn’t know–is who will take the final spots on the Broncos’ roster at the WR position. The team used a fifth round pick on Georgia speedster Tavarres King, so he is probably almost guaranteed a roster spot, which would make four for the Broncos.
Trindon Holliday is the team’s kick and punt returner, and they have been experimenting with using him offensively as well. He probably won’t see a lot of action at WR, but he’s too valuable as a return specialist to let go. He will take up a roster spot at WR, and will occasionally be used at that position.
In my mind, that leaves the Broncos with one open spot. I can’t imagine them keeping more than six receivers on the team to start the year, even with all the three-wide sets they are going to utilize.
One guy who I thought was in the doghouse was Andre Caldwell, but he is the team’s primary backup at the WR position. Caldwell was picked up last offseason on a two year deal by the Broncos, and did absolutely nothing.
Caldwell is a guy who came over from the Bengals after showing he can be productive in the right role, but he was a huge bust in year one as a Bronco. Apparently, the team hadn’t seen enough of him, so you can imagine my surprise when he opened the offseason as the team’s primary backup for their three star players.
Playing in place of the dinged up Welker on Saturday night, I felt like Caldwell showed enough to have effectively played himself off the roster bubble. I don’t think there’s any question that he’s going to be on the final 53, and unlike last year, he may well be active on most gamedays.
The problem with Caldwell is he doesn’t do a ton on special teams, so his value there is diminished, but he showed against the Rams that he can make some plays out there.
Caldwell has been working his tail off this offseason, battling for the #4 WR job which he appears to have locked up heading into the team’s fourth pre-season game. The big story on Caldwell this offseason was that he was upset for not being invited to go to Duke to work with Manning, but all is well that ends well.
If Caldwell can make any sort of contribution to the Broncos this season, it will be considered a huge bonus. He caught over 100 passes in his days with the Cincinnati Bengals, and while he’s not in line for a ton of targets with the Broncos, his explosiveness and speed will be welcome additions to an already stacked offensive arsenal.