4 Denver Broncos depth chart risers after preseason win vs. Cowboys

Denver Broncos depth chart 2022 (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos depth chart 2022 (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos depth chart 2022, Brandon Johnson – Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos depth chart riser no. 4: Brandon Johnson, WR

We already talked about Kendall Hinton, now it’s time to talk (some more) about rookie receiver Brandon Johnson.

Johnson got some love from Brian Baldinger, who really applauded some of the more “veteran” poise he showed especially in the team’s two-minute drill to score just before the half against the Cowboys. It’s not just that Johnson had a good game against the Cowboys, either. He’s been making waves pretty much all offseason.

It’s always great to see rookie free agents step up and get opportunities, but if you had asked just about anyone at the time the NFL Draft was going down what the hardest position for an undrafted player to make the roster would be, I don’t think anyone would have hesitated to say wide receiver. The Broncos have just been loaded there and there might have been one spot open, if that.

The injury to Tim Patrick has sort of shifted things dramatically for the way the Broncos could end up building the roster at receiver. Before, they might have been pretty strict about keeping six guys. With the way some of the players they have on the roster right now have been playing in the preseason, the Broncos probably couldn’t sneak someone like Brandon Johnson through waivers and get him to the practice squad.

And after Tim Patrick’s injury, would they even want to? The team decided to go with the in-house, next-man-up approach after Patrick’s injury. Because they decided to go that route, they kind of put the writing on the wall that they were going to be more willing to keep standout players that were already on the roster if they showed well in camp and preseason action.

If your decision after the Patrick injury was to replace him with in-house guys, you can’t send those guys to waivers.

That’s why I think someone like Brandon Johnson may have ascended to WR6 on this roster, which may not even be the final WR spot. Will the Broncos actually cut Jalen Virgil if he continues to play like he did against the Cowboys, especially with how impactful he can be on special teams? I don’t know how they could do that.

Brandon Johnson showed outstanding poise and strong hands in his debut for the Broncos and that’s not been unusual for him in daily practices, either. Considering his ties to Zach Azzanni dating back to when Johnson was being recruited out of high school (the same high school Pat Surtain II attended), I think he’s approaching “lock” status for the roster, much less rising up the depth chart.