Projecting the Denver Broncos 53-Man Roster Ver. 1.0


May 28, 2013; Englewood, CO, USA; Members of the Denver Broncos huddle before the start of organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are set to start training camp in under one week, so let’s take a look at what could be a potential 53-man roster when the time comes for them to make final cuts.

Quarterback (2)

Peyton Manning (1)

Brock Osweiler (2)

The more I thought about it, the Broncos’ roster is deep enough this year that it might not be wise for them to keep three quarterbacks. Maybe it wasn’t wise last year…I think with Manning and Osweiler, the Broncos have what they would need, and I think they would also be able to get at least one of Zac Dysert or Bryn Renner on the practice squad as an emergency QB. Either way, we know Manning and Oz are making the squad, we just don’t know whether or not the Broncos are going to keep another QB to simply sit and develop, which I wouldn’t really fault them for doing.

Running Back (3)

Montee Ball (3)

Ronnie Hillman (4)

C.J. Anderson (5)

This is a bit of a surprise but I think it could happen. The Broncos are not a running team, but they do need to have a good running game. I think they can get it done with three backs, and then keep a fourth on the practice squad. That’s not what they’ve always done in the past, but with some of the other positions on the roster potentially needing extra spots, I wouldn’t count this out as a possibility unless someone gets hurt between now and week one of the season.

Wide Receiver (6)

Demaryius Thomas (6)

Emmanuel Sanders (7)

Wes Welker (8)

Cody Latimer (9)

Andre Caldwell (10)

Isaiah Burse (52)

You’ll notice Burse’s number goes all the way up to 52. I kept the 6th WR spot open just in case later on I felt like I had the room to add it, and in this case I did. One potential surprise situation would be Burse simply making the team over Andre Caldwell, but that seems like a long shot after Caldwell’s new contract. The Broncos have five receivers who could start this year, and Burse is the guy right now who is pegged as the return specialist. Last season, the Broncos kept just four receivers and Trindon Holliday.

Tight End (4)

Julius Thomas (47)

Virgil Green (48)

Jacob Tamme (49)

Gerell Robinson (53)

This was something I struggled with. Who should you keep for that 53rd roster spot? Robinson was the most intriguing talent among a potential 3rd QB, 4th RB, or 11th defensive back. The Broncos kept four tight ends last year as well, and I think this year Gerell Robinson simply takes the place of Joel Dreessen. That would give the Broncos another potential young playmaker at this position and I think it’s important they keep him around in case they wind up losing any of the guys currently ahead of him on the depth chart.

Offensive Line (9)

Ryan Clady (11)

Orlando Franklin (12)

Manny Ramirez (13)

Louis Vasquez (14)

Chris Clark (15)

Michael Schofield (16)

Ben Garland (17)

Vinston Painter (18)

Winston Justice (19)

The Broncos have really strong depth on the offensive line, where it was hard to make cuts. You don’t really want to cut any draft picks or rookies you think have the potential to start, but I could see both Vinston Painter and Matt Paradis as candidates for the practice squad again. I think the first six linemen spots are solidified up to Michael Schofield, but after that there’s some good competition. Winston Justice is another wild card for me.

Defensive Tackle (5)

Terrance Knighton (20)

Sylvester Williams (21)

Kevin Vickerson (22)

Mitch Unrein (23)

Marvin Austin (24)

I feel really strong about this group here. I don’t know if the Broncos will keep Marvin Austin or Sione Fua, but Austin has more potential I think. Otherwise, unless Kevin Vickerson is a surprise cut after camp and the pre-season, I think this is a pretty clear situation happening at defensive tackle.

Defensive End (4)

DeMarcus Ware (25)

Derek Wolfe (26)

Malik Jackson (27)

Quanterus Smith (28)

I couldn’t decide whether to pair Wolfe/Jackson with the defensive tackles, or pair some of the Broncos’ LBs with this group of defensive ends. These guys can play all over the formation, though in base sets they’ll have their hand in the ground as defensive ends. This is a really strong group of players and I think the Broncos have a lot of potential to work with here as well.

Linebacker (7)

Von Miller (29)

Nate Irving (30)

Danny Trevathan (31)

Brandon Marshall (32)

Lamin Barrow (33)

Lerentee McCray (34)

Shaquil Barrett (51)

Seven linebackers seems a lot, but truth be told, it was really tough to find out which guys to leave off this potential list. You’d hate to see Steven Johnson go, as he’s become a really strong special teams player. But the Broncos have a lot of depth at linebacker. So much so that I think 7th round pick Corey Nelson is slated for a practice squad job unless he can win the 7th spot outright. I think the Broncos have five LB spots locked in between Miller, Irving, Trevathan, Barrow, and McCray. I also think Brandon Marshall is set to make it. That would give them flexibility for one more guy if they want him, and the pass rush potential of Barrett as well as his ability to play DE was strong enough to make him a 10th DL as well as a 7th LB.

Cornerback (5)

Aqib Talib (35)

Chris Harris (36)

Bradley Roby (37)

Kayvon Webster (38)

Tony Carter (39)

Some very tough calls here. I think Omar Bolden is going to make the move back to CB and could end up being the 11th DB, or maybe even the 1oth depending what the Broncos do at safety. However, I think these five guys are pretty obvious, clear candidates to make the team.

Safety (5)

T.J. Ward (40)

Rahim Moore (41)

Quinton Carter (42)

Duke Ihenacho (43)

David Bruton (50)

All five of these guys have started games in the NFL. The Broncos have excellent depth at safety if they’re healthy. I don’t know if this will change much, if at all unless there is a surprise cut.

Special Teams (3)

Matt Prater (44)

Britton Colquitt (45)

Aaron Brewer (46)

These guys are guaranteed their roster spots at this point.

What do you think, Broncos country? What would you change?