Broncos final cut day will be painful, which is good news

Jul 29, 2021; Englewood, CO, United States; Denver Broncos players look on during training camp at UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

General manager George Paton is going to release talented players at the end of training camp, and that’s good news for the Denver Broncos.

Quality depth throughout the roster had been in question for some time. Occasionally this team has had positional groups with players who were trusted contributors beyond the starters, but that was only on occasion.

However, the 2021 version of the Denver Broncos has great competition up and down the roster.

It started during John Elway’s tenure with an improved draft record. The team revamped their draft focus and brought in help for future-Hall of Famer Von Miller with young core players Garett Bolles, Justin Simmons, Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton, Dalton Risner, and Jerry Jeudy, among others.

Following his hiring, Paton retained the focus of player development and added a solid draft class to bring in more depth. His belief was to create a good roster you must have competition in every room.

With some key veteran additions, this rendition of the team has just that.

Obviously, the elephant in the room surrounds the quarterback competition. It is true the success of the Broncos for this season relies on whoever lines up behind center playing well. However, many lose sight of the competition for snaps throughout the roster.

It’s clear the Broncos depth chart has some competition for opportunities.

This all leads to a painful final cut day for Broncos fans as some good players will not make the final 53-man roster.

Broncos’ roster is better equipped to handle season’s attrition

Media members are excited about the talent of the Broncos roster. Publications across the country believe in the talent collected by Elway and now Paton. From PFF to ESPN, the Broncos are viewed as a team with a top-10 roster.

This roster has talent beyond the starting lineups which is necessary with the attrition that comes from playing an NFL 17-game regular season. Good teams are able to manage the inevitable loss of a key contributor. The Broncos have not been a team deep enough to handle extended time missed by contributors.

Last season, the Broncos were one of the least fortunate teams impacted by time lost by key players. Their depth was tested in 2020 and struggled to keep the team in playoff contention.

This year appears to be quite different.

The quality depth of the roster is clear to players and coaches. Star defensive lineman Shelby Harris even expressed confidence in the team’s depth.

“We have depth all over the field,” Harris said. “Injuries happen, but we have all the guys that can fill in.”

Garett Bolles also noted the team’s depth as a strength.

“We’ve got depth, which is really nice when we’ve got depth behind these positions so that when some guy goes down it’s the next man up,” Bolles said.

With that depth, comes tough decisions.

The Broncos will eventually have to make cuts ahead of their Week-1 matchup with the New York Giants. With key positional battles all over the roster, ranging from the team’s No. 1 receiver, to the team’s final cornerback placed on waivers, Paton and Co. have some painful conversations ahead.

Good news, Broncos final cut day will be painful

The Broncos are filled with talented and competitive positional groups. Jostling for status on the depth chart has begun. The early word from camp is this team has several difficult decisions.

During training camp, we have witnessed the emergence of depth players like Justin Strnad, Calvin Anderson, and Caden Sterns just to name a few. Each primed to not only earn a contributing piece on the roster but potentially steal a starting job.

In the deep and talented wide receiver room, Sutton and Jeudy are jostling for the lion’s share of targets while K.J. Hamler and Tim Patrick position themselves for key roles. Diontae Spencer, a Pro-Bowl punt returner, could be cut because the team’s depth pushes him out.

The secondary may see a young player with potential in cornerback Essang Bassey never get a sniff of the field due to the tremendous depth of the secondary.

Additionally, the team’s youth will push a veteran on the roster. Unfortunately for seasoned NFL players, the league prefers younger players on cheaper deals. That could be either of the team’s inside linebackers with the emergence of Strnad, or either of the new additions at right tackle in Bobby Massie or Cameron Fleming if Anderson proves worthy.

Additionally, this team may not have an undrafted free agent make the final roster, breaking a yearly tradition. This is no indictment on the UFA’s in camp, but more a reflection on the lack of opportunities available due to the talent throughout the team.

All in all, several players cut by the Broncos before the regular season will land on other NFL rosters. Some of those players who could not crack the Broncos roster will find ways into starting roles.

The camp casualties will be many in Denver prior to the start of the 2021 season. The sting of those departures indicates this team is in really good shape.