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, Kaden Davis – Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos initial cuts takeaway no. 3: Waves made at wide receiver

After the injury to Tim Patrick, I think everyone was fascinated to see how things would shake out on the roster and depth chart overall. Losing Patrick was huge for the Broncos because Patrick was expected to be one of the team’s top three receivers this year as they eased KJ Hamler back into action following his horrendous injuries in 2021.

With Patrick out for the season, players have certainly stepped up in his absence, seemingly on a day-to-day basis at Broncos training camp. Then, all of the potential in-house candidates to “replace” Patrick seemingly had breakthrough games against the Cowboys in Week 1 of the preseason.

There’s no doubt that the team has four players who are “locks” for the roster at this point:

  • Courtland Sutton
  • Jerry Jeudy
  • KJ Hamler
  • Montrell Washington

The rookie fifth-round pick out of Samford has had arguably as big of a camp as anyone on the offensive side of the ball, and he showed out in the preseason with 45 yards on two punt returns.

Behind those four, though, who are the Broncos keeping around?

Tyrie Cleveland has been injured for most of training camp, and although he’s a key special teams player, you can’t help but wonder if he’s going to be more in line for a practice squad position than anything else at this point. I could be dead wrong about that and the team values him way more highly than I think, but other guys are out there on the field making plays while Cleveland is on the mend from a bizarre throat injury suffered in training camp.

Here are the receivers remaining on the Broncos’ roster (besides Cleveland) after the first wave of cuts saw Kaden Davis and Travis Fulgham let go by the team:

  • Trey Quinn
  • Darrius Shepherd
  • Kendall Hinton
  • Brandon Johnson
  • Jalen Virgil
  • Seth Williams

If the Broncos have two or three receiver spots remaining on the roster, how in the world are they going to choose from this group? I think at this point it’s tough to see Hinton, Johnson, Virgil, or Williams being let go after the next wave of cuts. In my opinion, the Broncos might now be in a spot where they have to keep seven receivers on the 53-man roster because of how they approached “replacing” Tim Patrick.

The team’s decision to replace Tim Patrick with in-house players is indicative of their confidence in those players. If they’re confident in those guys, and given the importance of the wide receiver position as a whole, how could they justify cutting all but two of the aforementioned players?

Especially if some of these players can help you on special teams, I think you have to keep seven receivers. You can’t decide that you’re going to replace Tim Patrick with in-house candidates and then subject some of the best candidates to the waiver wire when there are a bunch of wide receiver-needy teams around the league.

To me, the Broncos’ decision to cut Kaden Davis — who made an impression as the first guy out to training camp every day he was on the team — as well as Travis Fulgham who has NFL experience and made some noise at OTAs, shows very clearly that this team knows which guys it wants to keep around on the active roster and practice squad.

They might have to take a bit of a risk getting one or two guys to the practice squad, such as Tyrie Cleveland, Seth Williams, and Jalen Virgil, but I think as of right now, you’ve got to protect yourself at a key position where depth was a major issue in 2021 and keep seven guys on the 53-man roster.