Broncos depth chart: Case Keenum brings clarity to the offense

The Broncos are counting on Case Keenum to stabilize a passing offense that ranked 20th in 2017. John Leyba/The Denver Post/Getty Images

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With free agency and the draft completed, and OTAs and minicamps scheduled for the next month and a half, here’s a closer look at the depth chart for the Denver Broncos (starters in bold):


Quarterback (3): Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch, Chad Kelly

Keenum was the centerpiece of the Broncos’ work in free agency and is the unquestioned starter. Lynch is a 2016 first-round pick who the Broncos hope can find his way. As the draft closed, president of football operations/general manager John Elway said the Broncos would not sign another quarterback during the offseason program, so Lynch and Kelly will compete for the No. 2 job.

Running back (5): Devontae Booker, Royce Freeman, De’Angelo Henderson, David Williams, Phillip Lindsay

Booker will go into OTAs and likely minicamp as the starter, but Freeman has the size, speed and overall game to compete to be the early-down back. Williams and Lindsay should push Henderson for the No. 3 spot.

Fullback (1): Andy Janovich

He’s solo at the position, but he’s a core special-teams player, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is expected to have some two-back looks in the run game. Coach Vance Joseph has said he wants a power run game.

Wide receiver (13): Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordan Taylor, Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie, Tim Patrick, Kenny Bell, River Cracraft, Jordan Leslie, John Diarse, Jimmy Williams

The rookie draft picks -- Sutton and Hamilton -- are physically ready, with the route-running ability to push for roster spots. Last year’s draft picks at the position -- Henderson and McKenzie -- are going to find it a more difficult climb this time around.

Tight end (6): Jake Butt, Jeff Heuerman, Austin Traylor, Troy Fumagalli, Matt LaCosse, Brian Parker

After Butt spent his rookie season on injured reserve in 2017, the Broncos believe he's ready for a significant role in the offense. Heuerman and Traylor have experience in the scheme, but the Broncos have high hopes for Fumagalli.

Tackle (7): Garett Bolles, Jared Veldheer, Menelik Watson, Cyrus Kouandjio, Elijah Wilkinson, Andreas Knappe, Leon Johnson

Bolles will start at left tackle, with Veldheer at right tackle as the Broncos hope Watson, who has never played more than 12 games in a season, can stay healthy enough to be the swing tackle. Kouandjio and Wilkinson got limited looks as developmental prospects last season.

Guard (7): Ron Leary, Connor McGovern, Billy Turner, Max Garcia, Sam Jones, Jeremiah Poutasi, Austin Schlottmann

Leary is expected to move back to left guard -- he was moved to right last season -- and the Broncos believe McGovern is ready to move into the starting lineup. Turner, Garcia and Jones (a rookie) will likely battle for the backup spots.

Center (2): Matt Paradis, J.J. Dielman

Paradis has played every snap over the past three seasons, including 2016 when he didn’t practice much because of injuries to both hips. McGovern can also play center and Dielman is expected to get a long look as a guard/center option.


Cornerback (8): Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, Tramaine Brock, Isaac Yiadom, Marcus Rios, Brendan Langley, Michael Hunter, C.J. Smith

Harris is a lock to be in the starting lineup to go with any and all specialty packages. The Broncos believe Roby will be the other starter in the base defense, but Brock will get a chance to push him as the rookie Yiadom should get some snaps.

Safety (8): Justin Simmons, Darian Stewart, Su'a Cravens, Will Parks, Jamal Carter, Dymonte Thomas, Jordan Moore, Trey Marshall

Simmons has the look of a longtime starter and a future team captain, and it remains to be seen how the Broncos plan to use Cravens and Parks. They liked what they saw from Carter and Thomas as prospects last season.

Inside linebacker (6): Brandon Marshall, Todd Davis, Josey Jewell, Zaire Anderson, Joseph Jones, Jerrol Garcia-Williams

The Broncos re-signed Davis in free agency to keep him in the defense alongside Marshall. Jewell has the instincts and savvy to compete early to find a role on special teams with Anderson.

Outside linebacker (8): Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett, Stansly Maponga, Deiontrez Mount, Marcus Rush, Jeff Holland

If Chubb is as prepared to move into the lineup as the Broncos believe he is, it shouldn’t be long until he is paired with Miller. Ray is healthy after multiple wrist surgeries in '17 and has promised a breakout season.

Defensive line (11): Derek Wolfe (DE), Domata Peko (NT), Clinton McDonald (DE), DeMarcus Walker (DE), Zach Kerr (DE), Adam Gotsis (DE), Shelby Harris (DE), Kyle Peko (NT), DeShawn Williams (DE), Paul Boyette Jr. (DE), Lowell Lotulelei (NT)

The Broncos say Wolfe has recovered from offseason neck surgery and is ready to participate fully in the team’s offseason work. McDonald, a team captain with the Buccaneers, will play plenty in the rotation as will Walker.

Punter (1): Marquette King

The Broncos used a draft pick on Riley Dixon in 2016, but traded him to the Giants shortly after they signed King in free agency. The Broncos hope King can repair some of the field-position issues they had on special teams last season.

Kicker (1): Brandon McManus

After making 85.7 and 85.3 percent of his field-goal attempts in 2015 and 2016, respectively, McManus dipped to 75 percent last season with misses in four of the first five games.

Long-snapper (2): Casey Kreiter, Christian Kuntz

Kreiter has been the long-snapper for the past two seasons -- he finished 2016 on injured reserve after 10 games. The Broncos added Kuntz this offseason to get a look at the rookie.

Kick returner (4): Devontae Booker, Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie, Brendan Langley

Booker will continue to be the "safe" option for the job, until somebody else shows he can handle the ball without incident. When the Broncos selected Henderson in the 2017 draft, he was expected to be the kickoff returner early on.

Punt returner (3): Jordan Taylor, Emmanuel Sanders, Isaiah McKenzie

Coach Vance Joseph liked how Taylor handled the job last season after McKenzie was benched due to fumbles. Sanders will be the fail-safe option if injuries happen.