Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate DNVR Sports Community!

George Paton and Vic Fangio give insight to the Broncos’ initial 53-man roster

Zac Stevens Avatar
August 31, 2021

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After waiving or releasing 25 players, making two trades and placing two players on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, the Denver Broncos’ initial 53-man roster is officially set.

But expect there to be changes.

Here’s how the initial roster shakes out and what George Paton and Vic Fangio had to say about it.

Offense (23)

Quarterbacks (2)


  • Teddy Bridgewater


  • Drew Lock

Vic Fangio said the team struggled over whether or not to keep three quarterbacks—i.e. Brett Rypien—on the final roster. Expect Rypien to be signed to the practice squad.

Running Backs (4)


  • Melvin Gordon


  • Javonte Williams
  • Mike Boone
  • Royce Freeman

There was no surprise here. After Mike Boone sustained a quad injury in the preseason, Freeman was all but a lock to make the final roster. Boone will be placed on the short-term injured reserve. Fangio said it’s realistic that he will be ready to return by Week 4—the earliest he can be removed from the I.R.

Wide Receivers (5)


  • Jerry Jeudy
  • Courtland Sutton


  • K.J. Hamler
  • Tim Patrick
  • Diontae Spencer

Entering the week, the Broncos were stacked at the receiver position. However, they decided to move on from their depth by waiving Seth Williams and Tyrie Cleveland. Expect both to return to the practice squad.

After receiving “a lot of calls” about Trinity Benson, as Paton explained Tuesday afternoon, the team traded him to the Lions. Paton called the move a win-win-win as Denver received value for a player that wasn’t going to see the field much, Benson will have more of an opportunity to play in Detroit and the Lions received a quality player.

Tight Ends (4)


  • Noah Fant


  • Albert Okwuegbunam
  • Eric Saubert
  • Andrew Beck

There weren’t any surprises at tight end. Beck grabs a spot on the roster thanks to his versatility and ability to play both tight end and full back.

Offensive Lineman (8)


  • Garett Bolles
  • Dalton Risner
  • Lloyd Cushenberry
  • Graham Glasgow
  • Bobby Massie


  • Calvin Anderson
  • Netane Muti
  • Quinn Meinerz

The Broncos decided to go light on the offensive line, but felt comfortable doing so thanks to the versatility of Glasgow being able to slide over and play center if needed. Fangio said it was a tough decision to move on from Austin Schlottmann. If he’s not claimed, expect him to land on the practice squad.

Defense (27)

Defensive Lineman (6)


  • Shelby Harris
  • Mike Purcell
  • Dre’Mont Jones


  • McTelvin Agim
  • DeShawn Williams
  • Jonathan Harris

Harris landing a spot on the 53-man roster over Shamar Stephen and rookie seventh-round pick Marquiss Spencer was one of the bigger surprises. Fangio pointed to Harris’ work ethic and his ability to take coaching as main reasons he made the team.

Expect Spencer to land on the practice squad.

Outside Linebackers (5)


  • Von Miller
  • Bradley Chubb


  • Malik Reed
  • Jonathon Cooper
  • Andre Mintze

For the 17th time in 18 years, an undrafted rookie made Denver’s initial 53-man roster thanks to Andre Mintze. Paton said the game wasn’t too big for the 22-year old rookie and added he really impressed on special teams—an area that was of high importance in deciding the final roster. Fangio added the undrafted rookie plays tough, physical and has some “nasty to him.”

After Cooper’s stellar performance in training camp and the preseason, the rookie out of Ohio State was essentially a lock to make the team. Paton was incredibly impressed with Cooper’s play on special teams, but said he’ll have a role on defense as well. Paton added the seventh-round pick “flies all over” and gives 110 percent in everything he does.

Inside Linebackers (5)


  • Alexander Johnson
  • Josey Jewell


  • Justin Strnad
  • Baron Browning
  • Jonas Griffith

On Monday night, the Broncos bolstered their special teams by acquiring Griffith from the 49ers. On Tuesday, Paton said the second-year linebacker’s play on special teams “really stuck out” on film and played a big part in the trade.

Cornerbacks (6)


  • Kyle Fuller
  • Ronald Darby
  • Patrick Surtain
  • Bryce Callahan


  • Michael Ojemudia
  • Kary Vincent Jr.

The Broncos are continuing to get “a lot of calls” about their cornerbacks, Paton said on Tuesday. Denver’s general manger did not commit one way or the other that a trade would or wouldn’t happen moving forward. However, he did say in today’s NFL, specifically in the AFC West, teams need plenty of corners and safeties.

The Broncos’ didn’t make a trade before setting their initial 53-man roster. But that doesn’t mean something won’t happen.

Ojemudia will join Boone on the short-term I.R., Paton announced on Tuesday. He’ll be eligible to return following Week 3.

Safeties (4)


  • Justin Simmons
  • Kareem Jackson


  • Caden Sterns
  • Jamar Johnson
  • P.J. Locke

Locke was another surprise to make the 53. Behind rookies Caden Sterns and Jamar Johnson—who both really impressed in the preseason—P.J. found his way on the roster thanks to his special team’s ability.

Denver now has talented young depth behind their two star safeties.

Special Teams (3)

  • Brandon McManus
  • Sam Martin
  • Jacob Bobenmoyer

Notable Moves and Notes

  • The Broncos will have at least two spots open on the 53-man roster after placing Boone and Ojemudia on the short-term I.R.
  • Denver placed Essang Bassey and Duke Dawson Jr. on the physically unable to perform list, meaning they won’t be able to return until at least Week 7.
  • The team released Shamar Stephen and Cameron Fleming, but the expectation is both will be back with the organization.
  • With only five receivers on the roster, Paton said the team will add three more to the organization.

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?