Following the deadline for final roster cuts, the Broncos made a flurry of moves on Sunday. The Broncos claimed four players off of waivers — all of them offensive — and signed seven more to their practice squad. Here’s everything you need to know about the four players Denver claimed, from Brandon Allen to Corey Levin.
A sixth-round pick out of Arkansas, Brandon Allen spent two seasons with the Jaguars before he was eventually cut following the 2017 preseason. Allen then signed with the Rams where he was signed and waived multiple times before signing with the Broncos Sunday.
Playing under Sean McVay, Allen should already be fairly familiar with Rich Scangarello’s offense and will be an upgrade over Kevin Hogan. This preseason, Hogan completed just 50 percent of his passes for a dismal 311 yards, 4.8 yards per attempt, one touchdown and three interceptions, earning a grade of 50.4 from Pro Football Focus.
Meanwhile, Brandon Allen completed 64 percent of his passes for 431 yards, and 6.2 yards per attempt, though he was unable to find the endzone. His strong preseason performance against the Broncos, his best outing of the exhibition games, is probably what got him the nod over Hogan. Time will tell if he’s good enough to remain on the roster once Drew Lock is healthy.
The Broncos have (hopefully) found their kick returner for the 2019 season in Diontae Spencer.
Spencer was dominant at McNeese State, where he went to school. In one game, he gained a total of 365 yards from scrimmage and scored five times. Despite his collegiate dominance, Spencer went undrafted in 2014 and signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent until he was cut in July of that year.
Spencer then headed north of the border to try to compete in the Canadian Football League. In his first two seasons, both with the Toronto Argonauts, Spencer reeled in over 100 passes, gaining over 1,200 yards and scoring six times. He also toted the ball seven times for 76 yards, returned 39 punts averaging nearly 10 yards per return, and returned 27 kickoffs to the tune of 20.6 yards per return.
Spencer’s last two seasons in the CFL were even better than his first two. He caught a combined 152 catches for nearly 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. Returning 152 punts also, Spencer averaged a return of 11.7 yards and scored twice, while on his 63 kick returns he averaged 22.6 yards but never scored.
This was enough to land him a practice squad job in Pittsburgh, where he stayed until the Broncos signed him this week. If he can transfer his canadian football successes to the NFL he could quickly become the best returner Denver has had in a long time, and will be the most impactful of the four players the Broncos claimed.
With Andy Janovich injured to start the season, the Broncos will turn to Andrew Beck to be their fullback for the start of the season.
Although Beck is listed at tight end, don’t think he’s some dynamic pass-catcher. Coming into the draft, he was viewed as an inline blocker. While he was able to separate occasionally with his route running, but his hands and run-after-the-catch ability leave a lot to be desired.
While at Texas, Beck caught just 39 passes for 435 yards and four scores. What he did showcase in Austin though, was a willingness to block and a whole lot of grit. He has great size and strength blocking but still needs to polish his technique, especially in pass protection where he still struggles.
That being said, Beck will have no problem punching defenders in the teeth to clear the way for Royce Freeman or Phillip Lindsay.
The Broncos also signed offensive lineman Corey Levin to add some much-needed depth to their offensive line. Levin, a 2017 sixth-round pick of the Titans, was cut as Tennessee finalized their 53-man roster.
While in college, Levin was a stud. He was named an FCS All-American three different times and was awarded as the Southern Conference’s best blocker twice.
Working with young, raw and talented offensive linemen like this is new offensive line coach Mike Munchak’s bread and butter. No coach in the league is better at taking late-round linemen and developing them into consistent starters or in some cases even All-Pros and Pro Bowlers like Mike Munchak.
It will be interesting to see what type of an impact the league’s best line coach has on the Broncos in Year One.