Predicting the Denver Broncos’ 53-man roster

Jun 12, 2018; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive tackle Domata Peko (94) dives during mini camp drills at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As training camp approaches, the Denver Broncos will have position battles all over the team. Depth chart battles will be fierce and competitive, but when it comes to the 53-man roster. It appears less congested than many would immediately think.

A quick glance at each position, including the battleground positions that will be the difference when it comes to who makes the 53-man roster, and who will be outside looking in.

Quarterback

The Broncos will keep three quarterbacks in 2018. Case Keenum will lead the team with a depth chart battle of Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly for No. 2 and No. 3 on the depth chart.

Prediction: Broncos keep three; Keenum, Lynch, Kelly.

Wide receiver *Battleground position*

A newly crowded position with rookies DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton now in the room, to go along with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, all who are locks for the roster. While disappointing early in his career, Carlos Henderson will make the roster for the Broncos, who can’t afford to give up on a top-100 pick from last year in just year two. Henderson will get a chance to redeem himself this year, but could be on the fringe if he has a disastrous training camp.

The real battle will be between Jordan Taylor and Isaiah McKenzie. While Taylor features more consistent output, his injury is very concerning. McKenzie is on thin-ice, but a clean training camp and preseason, paired next to his raw speed and talents that simply can’t be taught, will prevail.

Prediction: Broncos keep six; Thomas, Sanders, Sutton, Hamilton, Henderson, McKenzie.

Running Back

As stunning as it seems, keeping four running backs is very much a possibility for the Broncos. Phillip Lindsay brings a lot of versatility to the team, next to DeAngelo Henderson. Devontae Booker looks to be a serious candidate for the most reps out of the gate and certainly second-round draft pick Royce Freeman is making the team.

A lot of weapons this year for offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave appears like the trend that could be followed.

Also making the team is fullback Andy Janovich. The Broncos need Janovich’s presence not only in special teams, but on short-yardage situations.

Prediction: Broncos keep four + fullback; Freeman, Booker, Henderson, Lindsay, Janovich.

Tight End

Completing the arsenal of weapons that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will have at his disposal is Jake Butt (now fully healthy,) along with Jeff Heuerman and rookie Troy Fumagalli. Keeping three will allow for Denver to find out what they have in Butt and more importantly Heuerman, whose contract is up at the end of the year.

Prediction: Broncos keep three; Heuerman, Butt, Fumagalli

Offensive line *battleground position*

The offensive line looks improved from last year with the addition of Jared Veldheer and moving Ron Leary back to his original position of left guard — a position he played very well at for Dallas — should bring successful results. Denver brought in Cyrus Kouandjio on a flyer that won’t cost them, however Menalik Watson’s contract ensure’s him a roster spot on the team with his 2018 contract being fully guaranteed as of March.

The depth chart battle will be at right guard, as Denver experiments with Watson and Connor McGovern hoping to find the right combination for their weakest spot on the offensive line, but when it comes to making the team. The roster appears set at this position.

Prediction: Broncos keep nine; Watson, Garett Bolles, Bill Turner, Veldheer, McGovern, Sam Jones, Leary, Max Garcia, Matt Paradis.

Defensive line *Battleground position*

Denver’s defensive front is back with very much the same look as 2017, with a couple new additions. With Derek Wolfe back healthy from his neck procedure, along with Shelby Harris, Zach Kerr and Domata Peko, the line will remain consistent and fairly healthy with added energy. DeMarcus Walker appears ready to take a bigger role on the line, to go with newcomer Clinton McDonald and others for depth.

With the arrival of McDonald however bumps out Kyle Peko,

Prediction: Broncos keep seven; Walker, Harris, Adam Gotsis, Wolfe, Kerr, McDonald, Peko

Linebackers

Denver has the usual suspects here in Von Miller, Brandon Marshall and Shane Ray, to pair alongside rookie Bradley Chubb and fourth-round selection Josey Jewell, who has turned some heads in mini-camp. Depending on how you see Su’a Cravens lining up either as a linebacker or safety, the Broncos roster appears set at this position.

Prediction: Broncos keep eight; Miller, Ray, Chubb, Shaquil Barrett, Marshall, Jewell, Zaire Anderson, Todd Davis.

Safeties

Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons highlight a strong secondary team with Will Parks, Jamal Carter and newcomer Cravens entering the mix.

Prediction: Broncos keep five; Stewart, Simmons, Parks, Carter, Cravens.

Cornerbacks

New names and new spots for returning faces, there is a lot of unknown when it comes to cornerback for the Broncos. Bradley Roby will be depended on to fill the shoes of departing Aqib Talib. Rookies will provide depth in Isaac Yiadom and and Brendan Langley, who might as well be a rookie seeming as he saw the field only enough to record three tackles in 2017.

Prediction: Broncos keep five; Chris Harris Jr., Roby, Yiadom, Tramaine Brock, Langley.

Kicker and punter

The punter position never was a debate once Marquette King signed in Denver. With former punter Riley Dixon traded, the job is King‘s. Denver also doesn’t have a competition at kicker as Brandon McManus is the expected starting kicker for the new year.

Surprise cuts

The name that will jump off the page immediately is Jordan Taylor, but otherwise, the Broncos roster is pretty set. Injuries will certainly play a factor based on position, but the Broncos roster feels very much in-tact with depth chart battles being the fierce debate inside those positions at training camp.

Potential practice squad names

Rookie Jeff Holland has turned heads early this Spring, but with such depth at linebacker, Holland sitting on the practice would be a perfect scenario for Denver in the event where they need his services. Cornerback Marcus Rios and wide receiver Austin Traylor also are two that could land themselves on the practice squad, right next to seventh round running back David Williams, who impressed early in camp.

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