Like it or not, as inevitable as death or taxes, roster cuts are coming.
The Broncos' 90-man roster will be trimmed to 75 over the next few days, and the final 53 will be determined by Saturday, August 30th. We're tracking every cut and every roster move, but we're also going to be projecting the moves to come.
With that in mind, I present my updated depth chart projection.
Before the first week of the preseason (one week into training camp), I had players ranked differently. I had Brennan Clay as the fourth running back; after breakout preseason performances by Juwan Thompson and, to a lesser degree, Kapri Bibbs, now Clay doesn't make the team. In fact, I shuffled the running back position completely. Ronnie Hillman has looked fine, and C.J. Anderson has looked good, but Juwan Thompson has looked explosive. Since none of them have a ton of NFL experience, I ranked them by my eyes, this offseason. Hillman edged out the others due to his impact in the passing game; he has 16 receptions this preseason while Anderson and Thompson have seven combined.
The other incredibly difficult decision came at defensive tackle. I cut a defensive player at another position to add another DT, which wasn't easy, but even then, how do you choose three players from Kevin Vickerson, Mitch Unrein, Sione Fua, and Marvin Austin? None are practice squad eligible. Unrein and Fua are the Broncos' top two ranked players, according to ProFootballFocus.com, with the only grades above +4.0. Vickerson was an effective starter a year ago, and you don't just throw away guys with proven starting NFL DT experience. And Austin has emerged this offseason. I ended up cutting Vickerson due to health (and penalty) concerns, but I kind of feel sick about it. Ask me again in five minutes and I might cut someone else.
Who did I cut to make room for a DT? It was between Kenny Anunike, Steven Johnson and Duke Ihenacho. Anunike has shone in camp and preseason, but he's practice squad eligible. I stuck him on there, crossing my fingers he sneaks through the waiver wire.
This depth chart was incredibly difficult.
There are a host of other minor changes, and I've noted the changes in italics next to the players' name, and noted the cuts below the table. Again, these are changes from my previous projection, not the team's official depth chart.
Broncos depth chart projection
Ronnie Hillman (up)
Juwan Thompson (new)
C.J. Anderson (down)
Ben Garland (new)
Mitch Unrein (new)
Sione Fua (new)
Malik Jackson (up)
Derek Wolfe (down)
Chris Harris Jr.
Special Teams (3)
K Matt Prater*
K Mitch Ewald*
P Britton Colquitt
LS Aaron Brewer
PR Isaiah Burse
KR Andre Caldwell
*Ewald will fill Prater's roster spot during his suspension
Practice Squad (10)
C Matt Paradis
CB Louis Young
TE Gerell Robinson
LB Corey Nelson
LB Shaquil Barrett
RB Kapri Bibbs
OT Vinston Painter
WR Bernie Fowler
S John Boyett
DE Kenny Anunike
Cuts from last time: DT Kevin Vickerson, DE Kenny Anunike (practice squad), C Matt Paradis (practice squad), RB Brennan Clay. Still cut from last time: CB Tony Carter, OT Winston Justice
Agree? Disagree? Let me know how your depth chart differs in the comments!
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