The Denver Broncos have made a lot of roster improvements this offseason in the wake of a big change to the front office. George Paton stepped in as GM and his philosophy in building a 53-man roster for we in media is an exercise in guesswork.
That makes projecting the 53-man roster out of training camp even more difficult, especially sitting here in May. In light of that, I started with players I view as 'safe' to make the final roster and there are about 40 guys that fall under that 'no duh' designation.
Whittling down the last 13 or so players was where it got rather difficult. Holdovers from John Elway's front office era may not be as safe as they've been in years past.
Without further ado, here's my way-too-early crack at predicting the Broncos' 53-man roster.
Players: Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock, and Brett Rypien.
If Denver doesn't make a big change (like acquiring Aaron Rodgers via trade), the quarterback room is basically known. Lock and Bridgewater will compete for the starting job with Rypien as the third quarterback.
Running Backs: 3
Players: Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams, and Michael Boone.
The one big change here is no Royce Freeman. Denver made it clear it's looking to replace their 2018 third-round pick. Le'Vante Bellamy almost made it as a fourth, which is entirely plausible, but it just came down to numbers and there was no room this time around.
Wide Receivers: 6
Players: Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Tyrie Cleveland, and Seth Williams.
Six receivers make and Dionte Spencer isn't among them. Hamler, Cleveland, and the running back, Boonel will replace Spencer as the return man giving Denver more roster flexibility.
Williams is a red zone threat, and Denver still needs help there, and he can offer up gunner ability on special teams. That was a value that couldn't be passed over for a return specialist.
Tight Ends: 4
Players: Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam, Andrew Beck, and Eric Saubert.
The Broncos need a blocking tight end to step up because Fant isn't that guy despite solid effort, and Okwuegbunam still has so much work left in that department. Beck and Saubert are the two best blocking options now, so they win those No. 3 and 4 spots by default but it's anyone's guess right now.
Undrafted rookie Shaun Beyer isn't a typical Iowa blocking tight end that fans have grown accustomed to seeing emerge from 'Tight End U' as he is more of a receiver than anything at this time.
Offensive Tackles: 4
Players: Garett Bolles, Calvin Anderson, Quinn Bailey, and a free-agent addition.
In the wake of Ja'Wuan James' injury, Denver will add a free agent for the right tackle spot. Bolles and Anderson are the projected starters right now, but Anderson will eventually reprise his role as the backup swing. Bailey and undrafted rookie Drew Himmelman will compete for the fourth spot, but the former wins it due to his versatility to play inside as well.
Interior Offensive Line: 5
Players. Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cushenberry, Graham Glasgow, Netani Muti, and Quinn Meinerz.
Look for the rookie third-rounder Meinerz to really push Cushenberry for the starting center job. There are rumors about Cushenberry being soft and Meinerz definitely isn't that.
Muti should make progress but he was a two-year project at minimum because of where he was at as a pass blocker and his medical history. That locks in Risner and Glasgow as the two starting guards.
Interior Defensive Line: 6
Players: Shelby Harris, Mike Pursell, Dre'Mont Jones, Shamar Stephen, McTelvin Agim, and DeShawn Williams.
Denver is mostly seeing a return of players here and with Stephens as the only new face to make the 53. Jones should make a leap and Agim should be taking a step forward.
Getting development from those two with Purcell back from his Lisfranc injury and Harris getting re-signed should lead to a great front on defense.
Edge Rushers: 5
Players: Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Malik Reed, Jonathon Cooper, and Andre Mintze.
Denver has to stay healthy here to really see the potential of its edge room, especially Miller and Chubb. They have the potential to be an outstanding duo but health is paramount.
The bottom is churned with the Cooper and Mintze coming in, displacing 2020 seventh-rounder Derrek Tuszka, but he should be landing on the practice squad. Both Cooper and Mintze offer more at this time despite not having Tuszka's experience.
Insider Linebackers: 4
Players: Baron Browning, Josey Jewell, Alexander Johnson, and Justin Strnad.
Denver needs Strnad to stay healthy this year as he was showing early signs of starter potential before getting hurt last year. Jewell and Johnson are what they are and Denver just needs more.
Browning, a rookie third-rounder, is going to be given a big chance to earn one of the starting jobs and with what he is right now, Johnson's role would make more sense for Browning than Jewell's.
Players: Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Patrick Surtain II, Bryce Callahan, Michael Ojemudia, and Kary Vincent, Jr.
The biggest position the Broncos have really targeted for upgrade this year, which shouldn't surprise considering Paton's track record. Four of the six who made the roster in this projection are all new additions to the team.
Denver will have good flexibility with its corners. It also gives the Broncos starter-quality talent with the young guns for the future as well.
Players: Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Caden Sterns, and Jamar Johnson.
Simmons and Jackson are back as the starters. Denver invested into its backups, which was needed. The safeties the Broncos had weren't cutting it and both Sterns and Johnson should easily beat them out.
Players: Brandon McManus, Sam Martin, and Jacob Bobenmoyer.
Denver currently has three specialists on the roster so an easy projection here.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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