Projecting the 53-man roster for the Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum (4) before the game against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
Aug 11, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum (4) before the game against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos defeated the Arizona Cardinals 21-10 in Thursday’s final preseason game. Here is a look at who should make the final cut for the Broncos.

Quarterbacks: (2)

  1. Case Keenum
  2. Chad Kelly

Case Keenum and Chad Kelly. After yet another disappointing preseason, the Denver Broncos will finally move on from Paxton Lynch and put an end to this disastrous experiment. Kelly has earned the right to be the team’s backup quarterback and if anyone else ends up being the No. 2, it will likely be a veteran that is not currently on the roster. Lynch did play well against third stringers in Thursday’s preseason win over Arizona, but that should not be enough to keep him around.

Running backs: (5)

  1. Devontae Booker
  2. Royce Freeman
  3. Phillip Lindsay
  4. David Williams
  5. Andy Janovich (FB)

The Broncos are likely going to use the running back by committee approach in 2018, so the team is going to need depth in the backfield. Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman will likely shoulder the majority of the carries in the early portion of the season, but Phillip Lindsay has certainly earned a roster spot as well. Determining the team’s fourth running back is not quite as easy, but David Williams seems like the logical choice over De’Angelo Henderson. Although if Henderson makes the team, the Broncos may attempt to secure Williams on the practice squad if he cleared waivers. The fifth back will be Andy Janovich. The former Nebraska fullback has had a really excellent summer and will definitely be on the roster this season.

Wide receivers: (5)

  1. Demaryius Thomas
  2. Emmanuel Sanders
  3. Courtland Sutton
  4. DaeSean Hamilton
  5. Tim Patrick

Courtland Sutton, Demaryius Thomas, DaeSean Hamilton and Emmanuel Sanders were always locks to make the roster. The interesting battle was always going to be for the No. 5 spot, which will likely go to Tim Patrick. At 6-foot-5, Patrick is a better receiving option than Isaiah McKenzie or River Cracraft and provides Denver another big target down the field.

Tight ends: (3)

  1. Jeff Heuerman
  2. Jake Butt
  3. Austin Traylor

The Broncos desperately need to work in the tight ends more in the passing game this season and the team is hoping Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman are the guys to get it done. Along with the former Big 10 stars, Denver will keep Austin Traylor as the third tight end. Taylor primarily will be used in a blocking role but it makes sense to keep him around with the injury history of his counterparts at the position.

Offensive Line (9)

  1. Garrett Bolles (Tackle)
  2. Jared Veldheer (Tackle)
  3. Cyrus Kouandjio (Tackle)
  4. Ronald Leary (Guard)
  5. Connor McGovern (Guard)
  6. Billy Turner (Guard)
  7. Max Garcia (Guard)
  8. Sam Jones (Guard)
  9. Matt Paradis (Center)

The starting offensive line has been established all summer with Garrett Bolles at left tackle, Ronald Leary at left guard, Matt Paradis at center, Connor McGovern at right guard and Jared Veldheer at right tackle. Kouandjio will the swing tackle behind Bolles and Veldheer. Jones makes the 53-man roster because of his versatility and ability to play center if necessary.

Defensive Line (7)

  1. Derek Wolfe (Defensive end)
  2. Adam Gotsis (Defensive end)
  3. Shelby Harris (Defensive end)
  4. DeMarcus Walker (Defensive end)
  5. Clinton McDonald (Defensive end)
  6. Domata Peko (Defensive tackle)
  7. Zach Kerr (Defensive tackle)

There are no real surprises on the defensive line. Wolfe is obviously coming back from a serious neck injury, so his ability to stay on the field will be crucial for the defense. Peko will take care of things in the middle and Gotsis will start at the other defensive end position.

Linebackers (9)

  1. Von Miller
  2. Bradley Chubb
  3. Brandon Marshall
  4. Todd Davis
  5. Shaq Barrett
  6. Shane Ray
  7. Jeff Holland
  8. Josey Jewell
  9. A.J. Johnson

The linebacker position should be a strength for the Broncos this season. Denver is stacked with edge rushers and players like Josey Jewell and A.J. Johnson should help provide depth in the middle.

Cornerbacks (5)

  1. Chris Harris Jr.
  2. Bradley Roby
  3. Adam Jones
  4. Tramaine Brock
  5. Isaac Yiadom

After signing Pacman Jones, the Broncos the solidified the depth at cornerback position and special teams units. Brock and Yiadom will be the backup corners behind Harris and Roby. Denver is not quite as loaded at the position as they were in previous seasons, but it should not be a weakness for the defense either.

Safeties (5)

  1. Justin Simmons
  2. Darrian Stewart
  3. Will Parks
  4. Su’a Cravens
  5. Dymonte Thomas

The Broncos have a lot of depth at the safety position and will be able to operate in a variety of schemes that let the team move around Cravens and Parks. Simmons and Stewart will obviously be the starting safeties, and Thomas makes the roster after a stellar preseason.

Specialists (3)

  1. Brandon McManus (Kicker)
  2. Marquette King (Punter)
  3. Casey Kreiter (Long-snapper)

The Broncos had no competition at these positions but all three should be strengths this year.

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