Projection of the list of the 53 Broncos players before the preseason 3 game


The Denver Broncos’ final preseason game at home on Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams represents the last chance for a few players to make their way to the 53-man roster.

Although most of the places on the list are probably settled, a few remain in the game. There will be the possibility for those who do not make the final list, and who go through the waivers, to be added to the list. 16-player Broncos practice squad.

Keep in mind that there could be at least a few currently injured players who will make the initial roster, due to how the NFL rules work in relation to the injured reserve.

On the one hand, teams have the unlimited ability to place players on IR with a designation to return. On the other hand, this is not an option until 2:00 p.m. MST on September 1. In other words, a player placed on IR when the final cups are made is out for the season.

Keep this rule in mind as I reveal my projection for the Broncos’ final roster of 53, which is due by 2 p.m. MST on August 1.

Quarterbacks: 3

Listing: Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock, Brett Rypien

I’m leaning towards keeping Rypien on the 53-man roster because there really isn’t a star in any other position that needs to be kept. However, I could see the Broncos trying to slip Rypien into the practice squad if they really wanted to keep another player.

Supportive backs: 4

Listing: Melvin Gordon III, Javonte Williams, Royce Freeman, Mike Boone

Boone’s injury opened the door for Freeman, who has shown he can do it as a passing protector and wide receiver. Boone will be out for at least three weeks of the regular season, but IR rules mean he will need to be kept on the 53-man roster for a 24-hour period.

Wide receivers: 6

Listing: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, Tim Patrick, Trinity Benson, Tyrie Cleveland

Benson continues to strengthen his record to be part of the team, but sixth place is a close race. For now, I have Cleveland taking the place because it brings more value to special teams.

Diontae Spencer, although a better returner, didn’t do as much on offense. Sixth-round rookie Seth Williams, who improved from Game 1 to Game 2, has a shot, but he needs a solid performance against the Rams to succeed.

Tight ends: 3

Listing: Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam, Eric Saubert

The tight third point is still up for grabs, and although Austin Fort has shown promise, Saubert is making the stronger case. A good performance against the Rams would likely seal the deal for Saubert.

Offensive line: 9

Listing: Garett Bolles, Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cushenberry III, Graham Glasgow, Bobby Massie, Calvin Anderson, Netane Muti, Quinn Meinerz, Quinn Bailey

All signs point to Massie getting the right tackle job with Anderson serving as the swing tackle. Muti and Meinerz have the most advantages for the inside depth of the O-line. As for ninth place, Bailey outscored veteran Cameron Fleming.

It’s true that the Broncos would take a million dollar load of dead money by releasing Fleming, but the team must view that as sunk costs. Also, if he signed elsewhere, he has to at least get the minimum veteran, so there will likely be some compensation.

It’s possible the Broncos will retain a 10th offensive lineman – that could mean Fleming stays, or that could be filled by veteran Austin Schlottmann, who hasn’t played very well this summer but has at least some experience in departure. A 10th offensive lineman would probably take the place I reserved for Rypien.

Defensive line: 6

Listing: Shelby Harris, Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Purcell, McTelvin Agim, DeShawn Williams, Shamar Stephen

Stephen has the advantage at this point for sixth place. Seventh-round rookie Marquiss Spencer and Jonathan Harris are making an effort but will need to have good outings against the Rams to be considered.

Outside linebackers: 4

Listing: Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Malik Reed, Jonathan Cooper

It’s the easiest of all the decisions the Broncos have to make. Fourth place was the only one to win and Cooper ran away.

Internal linebackers: 4

Listing: Alexander Johnson, Josey Jewell, Justin Strnad, Baron Browning

I had originally planned that Josh Watson would do it because he can play special teams, but the Broncos released him earlier this week. No other off-the-ball linebacker has stood out to justify retaining a fifth player in this position.

Corner wedges: 6

Listing: Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Bryce Callahan, Patrick Surtain II, Kary Vincent, Jr., Michael Ojemudia

Ojemudia will likely not be placed on IR when the last reductions are made, so it stays for now. Vincent was the best healthy cornerback and it may be more difficult to pass him on waivers, so he made my final cut.

However, things could change depending on how things go against the Rams.

Safeties: 5

Listing: Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Caden Sterns, Jamar Johnson, PJ Locke

Not keeping five linebackers off the ball allowed me to keep another safety on the roster. It’s possible the Broncos will choose to keep Trey Marshall, then put him on IR with a designation to return, and then hope Locke goes through the waivers.

However, Locke did some good things in the preseason. If he plays well against the Rams, that could secure him a spot on the roster.

Specialists: 3

Listing: Brandon McManus (K), Sam Martin (P), Jacob Bobenmeyer (LS)

These positions have not been in doubt since the start of training camp.

List of PUPs: Essang Bassey (CB), Duke Dawson (CB)

Any player who is on the roster physically unable to play can be placed on the PUP roster to start the regular season, but must be inactive for six weeks. After that, there is a five week window for the player to train for.

Bassey and Dawson need more time to recover from their off-season surgeries, so they’re almost certain to go on the PUP roster. The Broncos can monitor their progress and determine if they can be brought back later.

Travel after the last day of the cut

These are the moves I plan to perform after 2 p.m. MDT on September 1.

To IR with designation to be returned: Mike Boone, Michael Ojemudia.

I explained above that a player who might return during the season cannot be placed in IR with a designation to return when the final cups are made. Thus, these trips are made after 24 hours.

Reduced to the active list: Andrew Beck, Parnell Motley

Beck would take Boone’s place until Boone was cleared to play, while Motley would do the same for Ojemudia. Beck can play against special teams, which is why he’s taking Boone’s place for now. Motley has been solid in preseason games and could help until Ojemudia is healthy.

Last five guys cut (meaning, almost done)

  • Diontae Spencer | WR / KR / PR
  • Seth Williams | WR
  • Austin Fort | YOU
  • Jonathan Harris | DL
  • Austin Schlottmann | OL

Analysis: As the last five guys to meet Vic Fangio to get their pink slip, it’s likely the team will be hoping to re-sign them to the practice squad to serve as an emergency depth in season.

Training team

  • Damarea Crockett | RB
  • Seth Williams | WR
  • Diontae Spencer | WR / KR / PR
  • Kendall Hinton | WR
  • Austin Fort | YOU
  • Austin Schlottmann | OL
  • Drew Himmelman | OT
  • Jonathan Harris | DL
  • Marquis Spencer | DL
  • Derrek Tuszka | OLB
  • André Mintze | OLB
  • Curtis Robinson | HE B
  • Mac McCain III | CB
  • Trey Marshall | S
  • An offensive and defensive spot to be determined

Analysis: Crockett, Williams, Spencer, Hinton, Beck, Schlottmann, Harris, Spencer, Tuszka, Mintze and Marshall were easy additions to the practice squad. As for the others, I went with Himmelman, Robinson and McCain mainly because they are rookies who signed as undrafted free agents in May and are still on the roster, although they did not stand out.

I left two spots open, one for offense and one for defense, which could be filled by players who are not on the 53-player rosters of other teams but could get their chance with the Broncos.

The Broncos could always add Beck and Motley to the practice squad later, once the others are cleared to play and activated from the IR.

Keep in mind that you’ll likely see a lot of movement in the practice squad, whether it’s players called up because others are injured or the Broncos think someone deserves a chance to play. .

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