On Tuesday, the Denver Broncos released their first unofficial depth chart for the 2022 season.
While many of the roster spots were laid out as expected, there were several placements that also came as a surprise based on what we’ve seen at camp. Which of those surprises stood out the most? Let’s look.
Montrell Washington, Tyrie Cleveland & Brandon Johnson making waves at WR
The Denver Broncos’ listed starting wide receiver trio of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler should surprise no one, but the second unit has some intriguing inclusions.
One of those surprising inclusions is camp star Montrell Washington, who has been a superstar at training camp but hasn’t gotten as many reps with Russell Wilson as some of the other receivers he’s listed ahead of. However, given Washington’s camp performance so far, it’s only a mild surprise.
Tyrie Cleveland is the biggest surprise, as he’s listed among the second unit despite missing much of camp with a neck injury. That placement seems to ensure the Broncos will keep him around at the start of the season, even if it’s on the injured reserve list. His special teams prowess and size (now that the team is without Tim Patrick) should be valuable.
Lastly is Brandon Johnson, who is listed among wide receivers Nos. 7-9, but Sutton’s recent practice absence gave us a better idea of how things really stack up. Over the last two days, Johnson has seen a ton of run with Wilson, so he might be trending towards being the team’s No. 5 receiver, with Cleveland sidelined.
Saubert buried at TE
Eric Saubert was a star during the first week of Denver Broncos Training Camp, but he’s been fairly anonymous ever since.
It’s been fairly clear throughout practice that the coaching staff favors Albert Okwuegbunam, Eric Tomlinson, Andrew Beck, and even rookie Greg Dulcich — who has missed tons of practice time with injuries — over Eric Saubert, but seeing that cemented in the depth chart is still somewhat surprising.
There is likely going to be an odd-man-out in this tight end room that ultimately gets cut, and right now, Saubert is the heavy favorite to be that player.
Risner hanging on at LG, Glasgow out of battle at C
Dalton Risner faced multiple challengers to his throne at left guard, but as of right now, it appears as if he’s fended them all off, as he is listed as the Denver Broncos’ starting left guard on the initial depth chart.
Earlier during training camp, he was splitting reps with Netane Muti, and it seemed like Muti had a very real chance to steal Risner’s job. Unfortunately, Muti has fallen victim to a knee injury, removing him from the competition, for now at least.
The other challenger was free-agent signing Billy Turner, who was also expected to challenge at right tackle but has been on the PUP list all of training camp. With him seeing zero time to gel with the other offensive linemen, it makes sense that the team would defer to Risner.
McTelvin Agim fends off Denver Broncos rookies on IDL
Unfortunately for Broncos Country, McTelvin Agim hasn’t quite showcased the developmental leap many were hoping to see from him this season. He’s struggled to catch on with the first team and has only flashed his insane promise a handful of times.
As a result, it was safe to wonder if some George Paton-selected prospects (Eyioma Uwazurike and Matt Henningsen) could steal his roster spot.
That discussion is still very much in play — and should be monitored throughout the preseason — but for now, it appears that Agim will remain ahead of them on the depth chart. Agim was listed alongside Jonathan Harris and Mike Purcell — who have had very good camp showings — on the defensive line’s second unit, while Uwazurike and Henningsen are listed alongside Marquiss Spencer, on the team’s last wave of defensive linemen.
That can change a ton over this month, but Agim is still getting the benefit of the doubt, for now.
Malik Reed holds onto starting spot for Denver Broncos
As we entered camp, it seemed like Malik Reed’s roster spot might be in jeopardy, but he’s done a good job cementing his place on the team so far.
Reed has probably had the best camp of his pro career and has found a lot of success working against right tackle Calvin Anderson. However, with that said, Baron Browning has somehow managed to be even more impressive and seems to be nipping at the heels of Reed.
Considering he’s already proven himself at the position, it’s understandable that Reed is still ahead of Browning, but there’s a good chance that changes before the end of camp.
Specialists going chalk…for now
The specialist positions are normally a snoozefest during training camp, but that hasn’t been the case this year for the Denver Broncos, who now find themselves mired in position battles at punter and return-man.
However, despite the intrigue these battles of brought, the outcomes are following the offseason chalk predictions.
Sam Martin, despite being outperformed by Corliss Watiman through camp, remains the team’s top punter on their depth chart. Meanwhile, Montrell Washington has completed the uphill climb — as the coaches started him off towards the bottom of the returner pile during practice — to the starting spot, where everyone assumed he would finish, considering Denver’s draft investment.
Washington’s spot on the depth chart likely won’t change, but the same can’t be said for Martin.