NFL

Denver Broncos: Way-Too-Early 53-Man Roster Projection

Denver Broncos: Way-Too-Early 53-Man Roster Projection Von Miller

Jacob Dunne | May 21st, 2020

With the NFL Draft and free agency officially in the books, it’s time for a way-too-early 53-man roster projection on who will make the Denver Broncos. There will be no shortage of competition at every position this summer. The Broncos coaching staff will have their work cut out for them when deciding on who to keep heading into the 2020 season.

I based the following projections on both team needs and who I think the Broncos coaching staff will ultimately want to keep on the roster. A lot can happen between now and the end of summer that could force the hand of Head Coach Vic Fangio, but this list assumes that all players will stay healthy throughout training camp. Spoiler Alert: I have 12 rookies making this team. Let’s dive in!

Quarterbacks (2)

Players: Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel

Breakdown: General manager and president John Elway has officially given Lock the keys to this offense. It’s his job to lose. Driskel agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract over the offseason to be Lock’s backup. He has the mobility to keep this RPO offense going if Lock misses any games.

Running Backs (4)

Players: Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, LeVante Bellamy

Breakdown: Gordon is looking at lead duties after signing a two-year, $16 million contract over the offseason. He will be the 1A to Lindsay’s 1B. Initially, I had undrafted free agent Bellamy making the team over Freeman, but I think the Broncos figure out a way to keep both running backs on the roster.

Fullbacks (1)

Players: Andrew Beck

Breakdown: Beck played both fullback and tight end for the Broncos last season. His position flexibility makes him a valuable piece in this offense.

Wide Receivers (6)

Players: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick, Tyrie Cleveland

Breakdown: Our biggest weakness heading into the draft quickly became our biggest strength. After selecting Jeudy and Hamler with the first two picks, Lock now has three top-flight options at wideout heading into the 2020 season. After that, it gets tricky. With rookies Hamler and Cleveland coming in with kick return experience, Diontae Spencer will most likely be let go.

Tight Ends (3)

Players: Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam, Nick Vannett

Breakdown: The fourth-round draft selection of Okwuegbunam along with the offseason signing of Vannett officially put Jeff Heuerman, Troy Fumagalli, and Jake Butt‘s roster spots on notice. With Beck making the team as their fullback/tight end hybrid, there’s no reason to keep over four tight ends on the roster.

Offensive Line (8)

Players: Garett Bolles, Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cushenberry III, Graham Glasgow, Ja’Wuan James, Elijah Wilkinson, Patrick Morris, Austin Schlottmann

Breakdown: This was one of the easier position groups to predict. Barring a mid-summer offensive tackle free-agent addition, this should be the unit the Broncos take into the regular season. Promising rookie Netane Muti could make the team if he stays healthy throughout training camp.

Defensive Line (7)

Players: Jurrell Casey, Mike Purcell, Christian Covington, Shelby Harris, Dre’Mont Jones, McTelvin Agim, DeMarcus Walker

Breakdown: Walker is the only question mark in this group. His spot should be safe considering the second-round draft capital spent on him back in 2017. Heading into his contract year, Walker needs to show more consistency if he wants to earn a second contract with the Broncos.

Outside Linebackers (5)

Players: Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Jeremiah Attaochu, Derrek Tuszka, Malik Reed

Breakdown: Competition at outside linebacker is wide open after Miller and Chubb. The rookie Tuszka could cement a role as a rotational player as soon as this year. Reed’s spot is safe considering how well he played after Chubb went down last season.

Inside Linebackers (4)

Players: Todd Davis, Alexander Johnson, Josey Jewell, Justin Strnad

Breakdown: Davis and Johnson will carry this unit to start the season while Jewell rotates in against the run. Rookie Strnad is a safety-turned-linebacker who can rush the passer, stop the run, and cover tight ends. The Broncos hope to unleash Strand’s versatility as soon as he picks up the defensive playbook.

Cornerbacks (6)

Players: A.J. Bouye, Bryce Callahan, Michael Ojemudia, De’Vante Bausby, Duke Dawson Jr., Essang Bassey

Breakdown: It wouldn’t surprise me if the Broncos moved on from Callahan if he sustains another long-term injury. As of now, his spot is safe. Rookies Ojemudia and Bassey could make both Davontae Harris and Isaac Yiadom‘s spots on the roster expendable.

Safties (4)

Players: Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Douglas Coleman III, Trey Marshall

Breakdown: Coleman is the 12th rookie I have making the final 53-man roster. He recorded eight interceptions last season for Texas Tech. Coleman’s ball-hawking skills could help fill the void left by Will Parks.

Specialists (3)

Players: Brandon McManus (PK), Sam Martin (P), Jacob Bobenmoyer (LS)

Breakdown: Bobenmoyer will take over as Denver’s starting long snapper following the departure of Pro Bowl LS Casey Kreiter.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

 

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