Su’a Cravens will return this week, boost Broncos safety depth

Su'a Cravens in the preseason. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.
Su'a Cravens in the preseason. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.

The Denver Broncos were hopeful Su’a Cravens would return this week, and now, according to a source, they will be getting the safety/linebacker hybrid back.

Cravens, who was traded for by the Broncos in the summer, has yet to play a single down for them due to a knee injury. He was placed on the Injured Reserve with a designation to return in Week 9, which is where we’re at in the NFL season. Since Cravens is healthy enough to play, he will be activated either today or Saturday according to Rapoport.

While the Broncos haven’t seen him play yet, the reason they got him for a fifth and sixth-round pick was because of his versatility.

“I think having a guy like Su’a on your team, period, helps you versus these modern-day offenses,” head coach Vance Joseph said on Thursday. “There’s so much three-wides, and first-, second- and third-down three-wides. He’s a guy who can play a linebacker position and also cover a tight end. I think his skillset and his body type really will help us play better defense.”

Cravens was a key addition this offseason because of that ability to both cover receivers and tight ends, while also helping down in the box against the run. Arizona was the first team to work with the hybrid safety/linebacker, and now a handful of teams are following suit in the copycat league of the NFL.

“If we get him back—we’re still in the process of evaluating him—but if we get him back he’s a really good, instinctive dime for us,” defensive coordinator Joe Woods said of Cravens Thursday. “He has a natural feel for playing in the box. That’s what we saw from him in the offseason. Hopefully we make that move moving forward, but I think he’d do a great job for us.”

With the Broncos trading away Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans, Cravens can take his roster spot. The Broncos face Thomas and the 5-3 Texans this Sunday at 2:05 p.m. MST, and Cravens may even have to match up with the phenomenal wideout from time to time.

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