Denver Broncos: 5 Players You Should Know About Before Camp
The Denver Broncos will open training camp next month with their eyes on compiling the best 53-man roster to make a Super Bowl run.
Wide receiver, running back and linebacker are just a few of the spots that will see fierce competition to make that roster.
Whether they have spent their career on the practice squad or came in as an undrafted rookie, several relatively unknown players will have their chance to become a permanent fixture with the team.
Guys like Peyton Manning and Von Miller will be guaranteed a spot, but the competition is wide open in some areas. With that said, here is a look at five players who could come out of nowhere to land a spot on the final roster.
Lerentee McCray, Linebacker
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Outside of Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard, the Broncos have a wide-open competition at the linebacker position and will be looking for someone to step up and emerge ahead of the pack.
Lerentee McCray ran into injury problems during his time at Florida and was not drafted. The Broncos decided to bring him in as an undrafted free agent, and they may have found a future member of the roster.
McCray is a quick linebacker for his size (6'2", 250 pounds) and displays a solid ability to get to the quarterback. Beyond that, he is versatile enough to drop back into coverage. He will need to learn the scheme and may be a long-term project player who Denver uses in special packages, but he could develop into a solid defensive player.
The Broncos have had an undrafted rookie make the final roster every year since 2003. McCray may be a good bet to make it 10 years in a row.
Romney Fuga, Defensive Tackle
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The Broncos addressed their weakness at the defensive tackle position when they drafted Sylvester Williams out of North Carolina in the first round following the free-agent signing of Terrance Knighton.
With Kevin Vickerson and Mitch Unrein still on the roster, the Broncos have good depth at the position, and that includes undrafted rookie Romney Fuga out of BYU. Fuga is a 320-pound defensive tackle who was also a star wrestler in high school.
Fuga is a strong player who can push linemen back with ease, sometimes two at once. He is very adept at clogging up the middle and forcing runners to change directions. He can even put pressure on the quarterback from time to time.
Fuga's best prospects may be as a member of the practice squad, but he could push veterans like Vickerson and Unrein.
C.J. Anderson, Running Back
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Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman will be the players the Broncos focus on at running back heading into the season. Knowshon Moreno should get one more shot to show he can be a regular contributor to the team as well. But with the recent release of Willis McGahee, things got very interesting.
The door is open for someone to make plays at the running back position. Look no further than C.J. Anderson, an undrafted rookie out of California.
Anderson is a tough runner who can find holes in tight spaces and has shown the ability to break tackles. Here, Anderson takes the handoff and shows the vision to bounce the run to the outside before bursting up the sideline for a big gain.
Anderson could be the perfect complement to the players Denver already has in its backfield and could provide a nice spark off the bench. With McGahee out of the picture, Anderson will compete with Jacob Hester, Lance Ball and Jeremiah Johnson for a roster spot. At least one of them, maybe two, will make the roster.
Jeremy Beal, Defensive End
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Heading into the 2013 season, how the Broncos replace Elvis Dumervil will be one of the biggest questions the team faces. They won't do it with just one player.
Robert Ayers will get the chance to live up to his first-round draft status, but Malik Jackson and Jeremy Beal should both have plenty of opportunities in camp and preseason games. One of them could easily see significant playing time this season.
Beal was selected in the seventh round of the 2011 draft and has yet to play a down in the NFL with an injury shelving him for the entire 2012 season. This may be his last chance to show what he can do.
Beal had a very good college career at Oklahoma, racking up 29 sacks to go along with 58.5 tackles for loss. He gets a good jump off the snap and is solid in defending the run. Look for Beal to make the most of his chances in camp.
Gerell Robinson, Wide Receiver
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The name Gerell Robinson is one you will know by the time the season kicks off on September 5, 2013. He was part of the team up until final roster cuts in camp last year, and that experience should aid him in his quest to make the roster this year.
Robinson provides a big target with solid hands. He has big-play ability and can do a lot of damage with the ball in his hands. He had a huge senior season at Arizona State, catching 77 passes for 1,397 yards.
'The question will be how many receivers do the Broncos want to keep? Last year, they went with five. If they go with that same number this year, Robinson will likely have to fend off Kemonte' Bateman, Quincy McDuffie, Lamaar Thomas and Greg Orton to make the team.
The wide receiver position will be one of the most interesting battles in camp, but in the end, expect Robinson to be a part of the Broncos going forward.