Experience could be difference if Mark Sanchez wins Broncos' quarterback job

The Denver Broncos open training camp July 28, with the team's first full practice at the UC Health Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Here's a starting lineup projection:


Quarterback (Mark Sanchez): It's really too close to call at this point and it would incorrect to say Trevor Siemian can't win the job, but Sanchez has put in the work and most important has 72 career regular-season starts to go with six playoff starts on his resume. Unless Siemian can score the preseason knockout, that experience will be a powerful lure for the Broncos as they make the call behind center.

Running back (C.J. Anderson): When the Broncos elected to match the $18 million offer sheet to Anderson this offseason, it came with the expectation that Anderson would step up his offseason work and come back ready to go. He did and should flourish in the offense.

Wide receiver (Demaryius Thomas): Thomas, despite his second career 100-catch season in '15, is looking for more impact plays and more consistency after a career-most 17 drops last season.

Wide receiver (Emmanuel Sanders): Sanders is in a contract year -- the Broncos have had some early discussions about a new deal for him -- so he will be looking to make the most of his opportunities in an offense that figures to run more.

Tight end (Virgil Green): Green has consistently hoped to do more in the passing game and is once again hoping the opportunities will increase as the Broncos figure to use a two-tight end set more this season.

Tight end (Jeff Heuerman): Heuerman, who missed his rookie season in '15 because of a torn ACL, will have a significant role in the offense and is a player none other than Peyton Manning predicted would have a big year.

Left tackle (Russell Okung): He's coming off offseason shoulder surgery and has never started 16 games in a season in his career, but it's an easy argument to make that he was the most important player the Broncos brought in from elsewhere in free agency.

Left guard (Ty Sambrailo): Sambrailo, who started three games at left tackle as a rookie, will move inside because of his athleticism, and the Broncos have liked what they've seen in the offseason program.

Center (Matt Paradis): He is expected to be the only starter on the offensive line in this year's season opener who started in the same position in the '15 opener.

Right guard (Max Garcia): Garcia got plenty of snaps last season, as a rookie, as Louis Vasquez and Evan Mathis each battled injuries at times. He's smart, plays with tenacity in the run game, and the Broncos believe his pass blocking will improve quickly.

Right tackle (Donald Stephenson): He was the Broncos' first signing in free agency, which shows just how well they believed he would fit into their offense -- he can also play guard if needed.


Defensive end (Derek Wolfe): Wolfe, who signed a contract extension in January, showed what kind of consistent impact he could have down the stretch and into the postseason. He has to be the Broncos' impact guy on the defensive line with Malik Jackson gone.

Nose tackle (Sylvester Williams): The Broncos elected not to engage the fifth-year option on the former first-rounder's contract, so Williams is officially in a contract year and will have to battle Darius Kilgo and perhaps Phil Taylor to keep his starting job.

Defensive end (Jared Crick): Crick, Vance Walker and rookie Adam Gotsis will all be in the mix up front, but Crick put in over 800 snaps in the Texans' defense last year and he knows Wade Phillips' system.

Outside linebacker (Von Miller): Miller just signed the richest deal in league history for a non-quarterback -- six years, $114.5 million with $70 million in guarantees -- and now the Broncos will expect him to maintain the level of play he showed in the Super Bowl run.

Inside linebacker (Brandon Marshall): Marshall will move over into the spot where Danny Trevathan played, which means if he stays healthy, Marshall is on track to lead the team in tackles and cross the 100-tackle plateau once again.

Inside linebacker (Todd Davis): The Broncos did not sign an inside linebacker in free agency because, in large part, they were so optimistic about what Davis or Corey Nelson could do at this spot. Davis heads into training camp with a slight lead in the competition.

Outside linebacker (DeMarcus Ware): The Broncos will look to move Ware toward more of a specialist role on passing downs to protect his balky back, but the veteran is a leader and showed how much impact he can still have in Super Bowl 50.

Cornerback (Chris Harris Jr.): An elite player in coverage on the outside as well as in the slot, Harris continues to be the most versatile piece in the Broncos' coverage plans.

Strong safety (T.J. Ward): Ward enables the Broncos to put more defensive backs on the field in more down-and-distance situations than many teams can in their specialty looks, because he can play along the line of scrimmage as well in a weak-side linebacker role.

Free safety (Darian Stewart): The Broncos have liked what they've seen from rookie Justin Simmons, but Stewart has spent the entire offseason program with the starters and is expected to stay there into the regular season.

Cornerback (Aqib Talib): Make no mistake, Talib is still a question mark on and off the field after suffering gunshot wounds to his leg in an offseason incident. He's working back from the injury and could face league discipline as well.


Kicker (Brandon McManus): McManus settled in nicely last season as a go-to guy and kicked under pressure down the stretch and into the postseason.

Punter (Riley Dixon): The Broncos not only used a draft pick to add Dixon among this year's rookies, but Britton Colquitt has a $4 million salary cap figure for a team that is going to be on the hunt for every penny's worth of room in the season ahead.

Long snapper (Casey Kreiter): This is still a spot where the Broncos could sign a veteran late in camp if they aren’t satisfied with what they see from Kreiter or Nathan Theus, who battled through the offseason program.