Denver Broncos 53-man roster prediction: Final projections


The Denver Broncos dropped their final preseason game to the Arizona Cardinals in a 22-20 defeat that wouldn’t have been so had Brandon McManus made his game-winning field goal attempt.

This preseason is finally over, which means it’s the end of the road for 18 players who were on the active roster as of Thursday night. Some of those players will make it to the Broncos’ practice squad, and some will continue to develop elsewhere, while this could be the last NFL opportunity for some.

Here’s my final 53-man roster prediction after the final game.


  • Peyton Manning
  • Brock Osweiler

CUT: Trevor Siemian (R)

Analysis: Manning and Osweiler are locks, but Siemian had an up-and-down preseason. This will come down to whether or not the Broncos feel they can sneak Siemian on the practice squad. Whatever happens here, it’s going to be tough to justify keeping a third QB on the active roster, as talented as the rest of the team is at this point.

Siemian is a perfect practice squad candidate, and if he goes unclaimed through waivers, I think that’s where he’ll ultimately land.

RUNNING BACK, 4 (6/53)

  • CJ Anderson
  • Ronnie Hillman
  • Juwan Thompson
  • Montee Ball

CUT: Kapri Bibbs

Analysis: This is the toughest position of all to predict. Will the Broncos cut the hometown beloved, Kapri Bibbs? Will it be the former 2nd round pick Montee Ball? Either way, #TeamBall or #TeamBibbs will be cranking out piping hot takes all day on Twitter tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Why choose Ball? Well, simply put, the Broncos have more invested. We saw one game of Bibbs this preseason, and we have 3 years of Montee Ball. Perhaps that’s the exact reason the Broncos will choose to keep Bibbs. This is not an easy decision, but if the Broncos make the decision to cut ties with Ball, it will be all but impossible for John Elway to justify the horrific display of drafting that was his 2013 class.

WIDE RECEIVER, 6 (12/53)

  • Demaryius Thomas
  • Emmanuel Sanders
  • Cody Latimer
  • Andre Caldwell
  • Jordan Norwood
  • Bennie Fowler

CUT: Corbin Louks, Jordan Taylor, Isaiah Burse

Analysis: After this preseason and training camp, these were all easy decisions to make. Andre Caldwell made more plays in four preseason games than he probably has in his entire Broncos career  thus far. Bennie Fowler is a beast, and deserves to be on the team. He’s also good at special teams. Jordan Norwood has potential to be a really solid slot receiver and potential punt returner.

All of Caldwell, Norwood, and Fowler offer special teams upside, so keeping them wasn’t really an issue.

TIGHT END, 4 (16/53)

  • Owen Daniels
  • Virgil Green
  • James Casey (FB)
  • Veteran FA

CUT: Dominique Jones, Marcel Jansen,

Analysis: I think the Broncos look to a veteran (young or old) free agent to fill out the TE position. James Casey will also be playing some fullback, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who is a big name or anything. I think they’ll seek an upgrade here, however. Their depth is thin behind Daniels/Green.


  • Ty Sambrailo ®
  • Max Garcia ®
  • Matt Paradis
  • Louis Vasquez
  • Ryan Harris
  • Ben Garland
  • Michael Schofield
  • Evan Mathis
  • Veteran FA OT

CUT: Kyle Roberts, Shelley Smith, Gino Gradkowski, Dillon Day, Charles Sweeton

The Broncos have a good starting offensive line in my opinion, but the addition of Evan Mathis spells the end for the Shelley Smith tenure in Denver before it even gets started. Gino Gradkowski, traded for a 4th round pick (horrid trade) wasn’t good at all this preseason. He should be supplanted on the depth chart by rookie Max Garcia, who could wind up as the backup swing G/C with Garland as a backup OG.

It’s become abundantly clear that Michael Schofield is not capable of playing LT in the NFL, so the Broncos will need to find an upgrade at the backup LT spot. I like the rest of this group, however.

DEFENSIVE LINE, 7 (31/53) (Derek Wolfe SUS)

  • Malik Jackson
  • Sylvester Williams
  • Antonio Smith
  • Vance Walker
  • Darius Kilgo ®
  • Kenny Anunike
  • Sione Fua

CUT: Chuka Ndule, Josh Watson

Analysis: This defensive line is monstrous, disruptive, and nasty. With Wolfe out for four games, the Broncos might look to a veteran upgrade but I thought Sione Fua played well this preseason. He gets the nod over a projected FA addition in my final predictions here.

EDGE RUSHER, 4 (35/53)

  • Von Miller
  • DeMarcus Ware
  • Shane Ray ®
  • Shaquil Barrett

CUT: Lerentee McCray (candidate for IR?), Gerald Rivers

Analysis: The Broncos have the best group of four edge rushers in the NFL. There, I said it. Go ahead and pour some milk on it, and have it for breakfast. These guys are amazing.

LINEBACKER, 5 (40/53)

  • Brandon Marshall
  • Danny Trevathan
  • Todd Davis
  • Steven Johnson
  • Corey Nelson

CUT: Lamin Barrow, Zaire Anderson

Analysis: Corey Nelson gets another shot at the active roster due to his ability to play special teams. The Broncos’ other four inside linebackers are top notch. It’s tough cutting former 5th round pick Barrow here, too. Perhaps the Broncos will attempt to get a draft pick out of John Fox and the Bears for him.

CORNERBACK, 6 (46/53)

  • Chris Harris Jr.
  • Aqib Talib
  • Bradley Roby
  • Kayvon Webster
  • Lorenzo Doss ®
  • Tony Carter

CUT: Curtis Marsh, Taurean Nixon

Analysis: Another position of incredible depth. The Broncos could trade Tony Carter or Kayvon Webster to a team in need of corners, or they can find ways to get them on the field. Either way, this is a win-win situation for Denver. Taurean Nixon should be placed on the practice squad.

SAFETY, 4 (50/53) (TJ Ward suspended)

  • Josh Bush
  • Darian Stewart
  • Omar Bolden
  • David Bruton

CUT: Josh Furman

Analysis: With TJ Ward suspended for a game, Josh Bush has ensured a job on this team for at least another couple of weeks. He had a big game against the Cardinals, which couldn’t have come at a better time. Furman should be destined for the practice squad as well as the other two 7th round picks for the Broncos this year. I think he’s got potential.

SPECIALISTS, 3 (53/53)

  • Brandon McManus
  • Britton Colquitt
  • Aaron Brewer

Analysis: No surprises here. McManus needs to be more clutch.

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