Broncos roster projection shows tough decisions at RB, WR and TE

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos open full training camp on July 26 (rookies report July 23) here at UCHealth Training Center. Here’s a 53-man roster projection:

QUARTERBACKS (3): Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Chad Kelly

Hey, they haven’t even practiced yet, and this only considers players on the current roster. Things will change. So it’s possible the Broncos will go with just two quarterbacks on the active roster, if they believe they can get Kelly through waivers to the practice squad. Kelly, who was the final pick of this April’s draft, has some potential and an NFL-ready arm in the eyes of many teams. He saw his draft stock tumble because of a knee injury last season, along with some off-field issues.

RUNNING BACKS (4): C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, Jamaal Charles, De’Angelo Henderson

Here’s another spot where the Broncos will have to make a decision with a rookie. If Charles’ knees hold up in camp, he’s going to make the roster, and Booker already was pushing to be the starter when the offseason program drew to a close. Henderson is the speed player the Broncos have at the position, and it’s a good bet he’ll get noticed plenty in the preseason, so much so that getting him to the practice squad probably won’t be an option.

FULLBACK (1): Andy Janovich

Janovich is just the kind of player special-teams coordinator Brock Olivo wants and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will find plenty for him to do in the offense, as well.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5): Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Bennie Fowler, Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie

Tough call here, and the Broncos could keep six wideouts if they go with just three running backs. Either way, it's a crowded meeting room, and Jordan Taylor is a big-framed player (6-foot-5) who continues to improve. Taylor, Cody Latimer or Marlon Brown easily could force the Broncos to have six wide receivers, but that would cost them a running back or tight end on the active roster.

TIGHT ENDS (4): Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt, A.J. Derby

If the Broncos do indeed keep four running backs, this is another position that could be affected. If Butt, who almost certainly will open camp on the physically unable to perform list, isn’t physically ready to start the season, Derby should make a push for the roster. But in the end, the Broncos might part ways with a player here who had a regular spot in the rotation last season.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Garett Bolles, Max Garcia, Matt Paradis, Ronald Leary, Menelik Watson, Michael Schofield, Ty Sambrailo, Connor McGovern

To keep just eight here would leave the Broncos a little thin, and if they go with nine, the spot most likely affected would be either tight end or running back. With eight linemen, Schofield’s versatility could give him the nod over Donald Stephenson. Schofield can give the Broncos snaps at both tackle spots and both guard spots, if needed. Garcia, who started 12 games at center for Florida in his final season with the Gators, and McGovern also would give the Broncos some flexibility in the middle of the line to make it possible to go with eight linemen. The Broncos would need to keep some insurance on the practice squad, perhaps including a prospect such as Dillon Day.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Derek Wolfe, Domata Peko, DeMarcus Walker, Adam Gotsis, Jared Crick, Zach Kerr

This spot is made far more competitive with the additions of Peko and Kerr in free agency. Gotsis had arthroscopic knee surgery as the Broncos’ offseason program drew to a close but is expected to be ready for training camp. Billy Winn played 30 percent of the team’s snaps on defense last season and will have a difficult time making the roster this time.

LINEBACKERS (9): Von Miller, Shane Ray, Brandon Marshall, Todd Davis, Corey Nelson, Zaire Anderson, Shaquil Barrett, Kasim Edebali, Vontarrius Dora

Barrett is a question mark as he returns from a hip injury that kept him out of the bulk of the team’s offseason program. If he isn’t physically ready to return, it could open the door for a younger player such as inside linebacker Kevin Snyder to make the roster as Barrett recovers. The Broncos also could keep eight here if they need the additional roster spot in the offensive line.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10): Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart, Bradley Roby, Lorenzo Doss, Brendan Langley, Justin Simmons, Will Parks, Dante Barnett

This will be a tough group to crack for the new arrivals, but undrafted rookie safety Dante Barnett is just the kind of player to keep an eye on as the preseason progresses. The bottom line is it will be difficult to argue, when healthy, that this isn’t the best secondary in the league.

SPECIALISTS (3): Brandon McManus, Riley Dixon, Casey Kreiter

Both McManus and Dixon have been unchallenged this offseason, as has Kreiter, at least as soon as Kreiter recovered from a lower leg injury that caused him to finish the 2016 season on injured reserve.