Denver Broncos cutdown analysis

Check here for a full list of Denver’s roster moves.

Biggest surprise: There were a few surprises from Denver on Saturday. The two big ones involved second-year cornerback Alphonso Smith and free-agent pickup Jarvis Green. Denver traded Smith to Detroit for reserve tight end Dan Gronkowski. Smith was the No. 37 overall pick last year, and Denver gave up its first-round pick in 2010 (No. 14) for Smith. He was a failure in Denver. Still, basically giving him away was a shocker. Denver paid Green several million to come in and be a starter on its new-look defensive line. Yet, Green could never win a starting job, losing out to Ryan McBean. Still, it never appeared Green’s job was in jeopardy. Also cut was second-year guard Seth Olsen. He was a fourth-round pick in 2009. Thus, Denver got rid of second-round pick and a fourth-round pick from a year ago. That’s not the way to build a program.

No-brainers: A big reason why Smith was expendable was the play of rookie cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Syd’Quan Thompson, fifth and seventh-round draft picks, respectively. These two players are keepers. Expect Cox to immediately play a huge role as the nickel cornerback and as a return man. Matthew Willis had a great camp and he deserved a roster spot. Keeping Willis was made easier when Denver put receiver Brandon Stokley on the injured reserve with a groin injury. There were reports earlier Saturday that Stokley was released. Recent pickup, linebacker Jason Hunter, excelled in the preseason and was an easy choice to make the roster, as was backup running back Lance Ball

What’s next: Denver will look to upgrade at a few spots. First on the list is running back. The Broncos have been decimated by injuries at the position this summer, and it is not clear if starter Knowshon Moreno will be ready to play opening day at Jacksonville. Denver will look at every running back option available. Other areas Denver could look to upgrade include tight end, offensive line, receiver and the defensive front.