3 takeaways from Broncos initial wave of five roster cuts

Denver Broncos, Jamar Johnson - Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos, Jamar Johnson - Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos, Jamar Johnson – Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos initial cuts takeaway no. 2: The safety position and Jamar Johnson’s early departure

For the last year, it has felt like Jamar Johnson’s spot on the roster was in jeopardy. The Broncos drafted Johnson as one of two safeties picked in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft along with Caden Sterns. Sterns ended up having a great rookie season for the Broncos and is once again a factor in the team’s plans for 2022.

Unlike a year ago at this time, though, fellow former Texas Longhorns defensive back PJ Locke has really emerged in a versatile role for the defense, playing some safety and some nickel while also playing on special teams. Because of Locke’s emergence, the top four safety positions in Denver are set.

Jamar Johnson needed a big offseason to beat out players like JR Reed and 2022 fifth-round pick Delarrin Turner-Yell for a spot, and he couldn’t make it happen. We don’t see everything in practice, but based on the fact that he racked up seven tackles against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the preseason, Johnson’s early dismissal from the roster is rather surprising.

There were a lot of people who really liked Johnson and his ball skills coming out of Indiana last year, but ironically, it might be his lack of aggression to make a play on the ball against Dallas that could have been the final confirmation the Broncos needed to let him go.

The Broncos have to be pleased with the game they saw from JR Reed against the Cowboys, and Reed’s name has popped up pretty consistently throughout the offseason in training camp updates as well.

Delarrin Turner-Yell has the benefit of being a more recent draft pick even though he was also a fifth-round pick like Johnson was.

The Broncos are proving that there isn’t much room for error if you want to make this roster. It’s not easy for general manager George Paton to part ways with a recent fifth-round pick for nothing in return, especially when he was able to recoup a sixth-rounder in a trade involving 2021 seventh-round pick Kary Vincent Jr. last year. With that being said, Johnson was playing at a loaded position and the Broncos maybe felt like the final two preseason games were an opportunity to put JR Reed and Delarrin Turner-Yell in the starting lineup and let them battle it out for roster positioning.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Paton is not messing around, even when it comes to draft status, with building the best possible roster in Denver.