No Florence Nightingale Effect in Denver: Broncos Cut Down to 53

Christopher HansenNFL AnalystAugust 31, 2012

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 18:  Cornerback Drayton Florence #29 of the Denver Broncos in action against the Seattle Seahawks at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on August 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Broncos made their cuts to get down to the league-mandated 53-man roster. The biggest surprise was the release of veteran cornerback Drayton Florence. Florence signed with the Broncos this offseason and was competing for the job as the Broncos' nickel cornerback.

Chris Harris ended up winning the competition for the nickel cornerback job and made Florence nothing more than an expensive reserve. Florence didn't do himself any favors with his preseason performance, and it could take him some time to find a new home.

There is a shortage of solid cornerbacks in the NFL, and that alone could get Florence a look by a cornerback-needy team, but his declining skills and below-average production the last couple of years might give even the neediest team pause. 

Florence's release also means Tony Carter made the 53-man roster as the Broncos' fifth cornerback after being signed off the practice squad last December. 

Other notable releases were safety Rafael Bush, wide receiver Jason Hill, running back Jeremiah Johnson and offensive tackle Ryan Harris.

Bush's release means David Bruton made the roster. This was a decision made almost solely on Bruton's special teams ability. John Elway called Bruton a "terror" on special teams according to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post.

Elway also said Bush had a good camp and may be brought back (via CBS Sports). Elway's comments indicate Bush could be headed to the practice squad if he clears waivers. 

Jason Hill and Ryan Harris were hoping to stick on the final 53-man roster but were two of only four vested veterans released by the Broncos. The team will go with just five wide receivers and opted to keep offensive guard C.J. Davis over Harris who is a tackle.  

Harris played for the Broncos from 2007-2010, but signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason before missing the entire year with a back injury. 

Jeremiah Johnson was in a competition with Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball for two roster spots at running back. Unfortunately for Johnson, Moreno got healthy quickly, and Lance Ball is more versatile in the passing game and on special teams. Johnson was simply the victim of a numbers game at the position. 

Credit the Broncos for not prematurely discarding Moreno because he's been a disappointing first-round draft pick. Obviously, the roster will continue to be fluid as Elway takes a look at the some 700 players that have been released by other teams.