The Denver Broncos made a pretty unexpected roster move on Saturday, signing rookie linebacker Shaquil Barrett to the active roster and placing defensive end Quanterus Smith on injured reserve, per an announcement from the team.
Barrett, a 6-foot-2 250 pound rookie out of Colorado State, replaces the Broncos’ lowest graded defender by Pro Football Focus in Quanterus Smith, who was a fifth round draft pick out of Western Kentucky in 2013. Smith spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve, and despite his low grades, I saw some things from him this year that look like positive building blocks for the future.
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Smith finished his essential “rookie” season with the Broncos with 11 tackles and two tipped passes. Unfortunately for the star pass rusher — no sacks. Next season will be a major year for him in making or breaking his time with the Denver Broncos, but the team knew they’d have to be patient. This is the second straight season he’s landed on IR.
Barrett is a player that, if you’ll recall, I was all over after the draft. The Broncos signed the Colorado State star pass rusher who was the defensive player of the year in the Mountain West Conference after absolutely dominating everyone, including the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Barrett looked good in the preseason, but the Broncos were simply too deep to keep 10 linebackers on the active roster, so he was placed on the practice squad. He’s been with the team all year after spending one week on the active roster back in week seven, and some other shuffling around. Barrett is a solid special teams player if the Broncos need him, but the team is really healthy going into Sunday’s matchup against the Colts. It seems unlikely he will play in this game, but this is a name to keep an eye out for down the road.