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Projecting the Denver Broncos' final 53-man roster

Zac Stevens Avatar
August 29, 2021

DENVER — Training camp is in the books. The preseason is finally over. The regular season is up next.

The only thing standing between the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants Week 1 game is cut day.

By Tuesday afternoon, George Paton and Vic Fangio must narrow their team down from 80 players to the final 53-man roster.

Here’s who is projected to make the final team.

Offense (25)

Quarterbacks (2)

Starter

  • Teddy Bridgewater

Backup

  • Drew Lock

With two starting-caliber quarterbacks on the roster, there is no need to keep Brett Rypien on the active roster. However, he’ll be an easy addition to the practice squad.

Running Backs (4)

Starter

  • Melvin Gordon

Backups

  • Javonte Williams
  • Mike Boone
  • Royce Freeman

Boone’s injury opens up a spot for Freeman to make the initial roster. Since Boone isn’t expected to miss much time once the regular season starts, he will be on the initial 53-man roster.

Wide Receivers (7)

Starters

  • Jerry Jeudy
  • Courtland Sutton

Backups

  • K.J. Hamler
  • Tim Patrick
  • Trinity Benson
  • Seth Williams
  • Diontae Spencer

Credit to Paton and John Elway, the Broncos will have to cut NFL-caliber receivers because of how deep they are at the position. Benson has shined enough in training camp and the preseason to earn a roster spot. Hinton, however, won’t make it. But he’ll end up on the practice squad.

Tight Ends (4)

Starter

  • Noah Fant

Backups

  • Albert Okwuegbunam
  • Eric Saubert
  • Andrew Beck

Beck gets the final tight end spot thanks to his versatility at fullback. With the Broncos commitment to the ground game, there will be a need for a fullback on the team. Saubert grabs a spot as the team’s best blocking tight end, but don’t sleep on his receiving abilities either.

Offensive Lineman (8)

Starters

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

Backups

  • Calvin Anderson
  • Netane Muti
  • Quinn Meinerz

The Broncos’ depth at offensive line drops drastically after these eight. There’s no need to hold an extra lineman when the team feels very comfortable about their three backups. The Broncos will save cap space by moving on from veteran Cameron Fleming.

Defense (25)

Defensive Lineman (7)

Starters

  • Shelby Harris
  • Mike Purcell
  • Dre’Mont Jones

Backups

  • McTelvin Agim
  • DeShawn Williams
  • Marquiss Spencer
  • Shamar Stephen

The final roster spot will come down to rookie seventh-round pick Marquiss Spencer—who had an impressive training camp—and veteran Shamar Stephen. Both have been in Denver’s first-team rotation throughout the offseason, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they kept both.

Outside Linebackers (4)

Starters

  • Von Miller
  • Bradley Chubb

Backups

  • Malik Reed
  • Jonathon Cooper

Cooper has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the offseason. After missing the offseason program for a heart procedure, Cooper has done nothing but impress in training camp and the preseason. His spot on the roster is locked in, along with the other three outside linebackers listed above.

Inside Linebackers (4)

Starters

  • Alexander Johnson
  • Josey Jewell

Backups

  • Justin Strnad
  • Baron Browning

Fangio has the ideal blend of veteran experience with young talent at the inside backer group. Strnad might not get the starting nod Week 1, but expect him to have a big role in Fangio’s defense. On the flip side, Browning will need significant time to continue to transition to the NFL and learn the inside linebacker position.

Cornerbacks (6)

Starters

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

Backups

  • Michael Ojemudia
  • Kary Vincent Jr.

Surtain and Callahan are technically listed as backups on the Broncos’ depth chart. But they’ll play like starters with Fangio using dime more than he ever has. Ojemudia’s injury, which will likely carry into the season, will force Denver to carry six corners to start the season.

Safeties (4)

Starters

  • Justin Simmons
  • Kareem Jackson

Backups

  • Caden Sterns
  • Jamar Johnson

Denver’s two rookie safeties make the final cut behind their two star safeties. Sterns, however, will be the rookie who sees playing time in 2021 if needed as he’s had a tremendous camp and preseason.

Special Teams (3)

  • Brandon McManus
  • Sam Martin
  • Jacob Bobenmoyer

Notable Cuts

  • Brett Rypien (practice squad)
  • Tyrie Cleveland (practice squad)
  • Kendall Hinton (practice squad)
  • Austin Schlottman (practice squad)
  • Derrek Tuszka (practice squad)
  • Nat Hairston (practice squad)
  • Mac McCain III (practice squad)
  • Trey Marshall (I.R. or practice squad)
  • P.J. Locke (practice squad)
  • Cameron Fleming

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