The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos are primed for another division title. They proved last season that even with sub-par quarterback play that they were still the best team in the National Football League. With the departure of Peyton Manning, there will be a battle for the quarterback position between a rookie and a veteran with playoff experience. On the other side of the ball, Von Miller is still at a standstill with the Broncos in regards to his contract and Aqib Talib’s off-the-field situation may hurt the Broncos secondary.
Many questions need to be answered in Denver before the season so let’s take a look at what the roster might look like come September.
Only a psychic could predict who the Broncos’ starting quarterback is going to be to start the 2016 season. I think Sanchez or Siemian starts the season for Denver but the battle could quickly turn upside down if one of the quarterbacks play poorly. At the same time, there is still a chance that Lynch plays so well the Broncos are forced to start him. Similar to what Oakland did with Derek Carr a few seasons ago. The good news for these three is that they will all make the roster. The Broncos only have these three on the roster now and surely they will get plenty of reps in camp.
Running Backs (3)
Barring injury, Anderson will be getting the majority of the carries. Fourth round draft pick Devontae Booker will also be a lock to make the team. That leaves only one spot left for Ronnie Hillman, Juwann Thompson and Kapri Bibbs to fight for. I chose Hillman because he is a proven back and there is also the chance the Broncos go with four running backs. If that is the case, I find it hard to believe that Hillman gets cut.
The Broncos loved Janovich and selected him in the sixth-round of the draft this year. He is going to be all over the place on special teams and asked to open up holes for the running backs. Janovich is another reason why Thompson may not make this roster.
Tight Ends (3)
Early on, Virgil Green is going to get his chance to become one of the main weapons in the passing game this season. Heuerman’s spot also seems pretty secure right now as well so that battle will be between Garret Graham and Henry Kreiger-Coble. I like the veteran Graham getting this job because of his experience and as well as his blocking ability. He stated he is working on his blocking to possibly take some snaps at fullback.
Wide Receivers (6)
The Broncos are in a pretty good place in the receiving department. Thomas, Sanders, Latimer and Fowler should all make this team. The position gets interesting near the bottom of the depth chart. Jordan Taylor, Bralon Addison and Jordan Norwood are all vying for those last spots on the roster. Bralon Addison should make this team for his returning ability alone. Yes, Norwood had that big return during the Super Bowl last year, but he wasn’t a threat for most of 2015. Jordan Taylor is a huge target standing at 6’5 on the outside. There simply won’t be enough room for Norwood on this roster.
Offensive Line (9)
Let’s start on the inside wit the center position. Max Paradis and Jamer Ferentz will be the starter and backup respectively. The starting guards will be Ty Sambrailo and Max Garcia. With the Robert Myers and Connor McGovern filling behind them. The two starting tackels will be the new addition Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson. The Broncos starting line is set in stone but the backup spots will quietly have a few battles ensue.
Defensive Line (7)
It would shock me if this wasn’t the lineup the Broncos had come week one. If all of these guys can stay healthy they should make the team. There are a few surprise guys that can make the roster, but barring any shocking moves, Denver should stick with these seven guys.
Inside Linebackers (4)
Outside of Brandon Marshall, there is nothing to get excited about in Denver. The loss of Danny Trevathan is going to hurt the Broncos up the middle. Todd Davis and Corey Nelson are going to have to step up big time if they want to emulate Trevathan’s production.
Outside Linebackers (4)
Arguably the best position group on the team. The Broncos are loaded at outside linebacker…as long as Von Miller decides to play. With Miller and Denver in contract disputes, it is hard to say what this positions will look like without arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL.
Chris Harris Jr
This entire projection relies upon Aqib Talib. If he gets suspended for his off the field incident earlier this month, the secondary could see a minor shakeup. Look for Taurean Nixon to replace his roster spot if that is the case. With or without Talib, the Broncos have a great group of cornerbacks. Led by Chris Harris Jr, one of the best cornerbacks in the game.
At the top of the depth chart, TJ Ward and Darian Stewart are locks to start. The backup position is going to be filled by a pair of rookies in Will Parks and Justin Simmons. I like Shiloh Keo for depth and special teams. He played valiantly last season as multiple defensive backs were out with injury last season.
Special Teams (3)
K: Brandon McManus
P: Riley Dixon
LS: Casey Kreiter
Punter and long snapper position battles! Just what we all need to get excited for football season. If Riley Dixon proves he can be a serviceable NFL punter, he will make the team. Britton Colquitt will cost too much. Honestly, I know nothing about the long snapper battle in Denver. But it will be Nathan Theus vs. Casey Kreiter.