Denver Broncos: 10 Players Firmly on the Roster Bubble

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Featured Columnist IVJune 24, 2013

Denver Broncos: 10 Players Firmly on the Roster Bubble

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    The Denver Broncos have positioned themselves as an early favorite in the AFC with the additions of players like Wes Welker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Montee Ball.

    However, there won't be room on the roster for everyone.

    Training camp is set to open next month and some players are going to have to fight hard to keep their place on the team. With competition expected to be fierce at a few positions, some guys will have their tenure come to a disappointing end.

    Here, we will take a look at 10 players who sit right on the bubble of either making the roster or suffering the fate of being let go.

Stewart Bradley, Linebacker

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    The Broncos did not address the linebacker position in the draft, instead opting to sign Stewart Bradley after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals.

    In two seasons with Arizona, Bradley registered a total of just 42 tackles. In Denver, he would likely have to be much more productive if he wants to make the team.

    The Broncos have a wealth of young linebackers on the roster including Danny Trevathan, Nate Irving, Steven Johnson, Lerentee McCray, Damien Holmes and Uona Kaveinga.

    Bradley has appeared in 76 games in the NFL and his experience may be an aid to those players if nothing else.

Jacob Hester, Running Back

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    There aren't many packages in the Denver offense that call for a fullback, so Jacob Hester will have to compete with all of the other running backs for a spot on the team.

    In 2012, he was effective in short-yardage situations after his late-November signing and he can catch the ball out of the backfield.

    Still, that may not be enough to keep him in a Denver uniform.

Tony Carter, Cornerback

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    Tony Carter had his best season in the NFL in 2012 after surviving the roster cuts, but he will have to do the same again this year.

    Carter had his first two career interceptions in 2012, returning one for a touchdown. But the Broncos signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as a free agent before drafting Kayvon Webster in the third round out of South Florida.

    If the Broncos decide to keep six cornerbacks on the roster, Carter should be safe. If they decide to go with just five, that final spot would likely be contested between Carter, Omar Bolden and undrafted rookie Aaron Hester.

Mike Adams, Safety

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    After Quinton Carter went down with an injury early in the 2012 season, Mike Adams stepped in and performed to the best of his abilities. He finished third on the team in tackles.

    But while Adams was good in some areas, he lacked in others—specifically pass defense. The Broncos were victimized by opposing tight ends on a regular basis last season and Adams was in on many of those plays.

    This year, Carter is expected to be back at full strength and Rahim Moore was much improved in his second season. The team also has special teams ace David Bruton and veteran Quentin Jammer, whom they recently brought in as a free agent and have since converted to a safety.

    There simply may not be enough room for Adams.

Joe Mays, Linebacker

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    Joe Mays had a forgettable 2012 season. He tallied just 20 tackles in six games, all while losing his starting spot to the aging Keith Brooking. Moreover, he was fined and suspended for this hit on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub.

    To top it all off, Mays was then lost for the season with a leg injury. His future with the Broncos is very unclear and he has as much to prove as anyone on the team in camp as well as preseason.

Zac Dysert, Quarterback

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    Zac Dysert is the all-time leading passer at Miami of Ohio and, when his name was still on the board in the seventh round of this year's NFL draft, the Broncos went ahead and selected him.

    Last year, the Broncos kept just two quarterbacks on their roster and both of them (Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler) are still there.

    Dysert will have to fend off undrafted rookie Ryan Katz and then hope he can do enough to convince the Broncos to keep three quarterbacks.

    He has an accurate arm, but what gives him a chance to play in the NFL is his mobility and the way he throws the ball on the run. His best prospects may be as a member of the practice squad, but that would give the team the chance to develop him for the future.

Lance Ball, Running Back

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    Lance Ball has stuck around with the Broncos for the past three seasons, finding a niche with the team each year. In that time, he has run for 718 yards and caught 26 passes.

    This year, he may find that sticking with the team will be more challenging than ever. The Broncos will likely keep four or five running backs, with Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno being three of them.

    That leaves Ball to battle Jacob Hester, Jeremiah Johnson and undrafted rookie C.J. Anderson.

    If five running backs are kept, he'll probably be a member of the team in 2013. If the team elects to go with just four, his time in Denver could be up.

    Granted, the recent release of Willis McGahee increased the odds of every running back on the roster.

Julius Thomas, Tight End

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    Though USA Today writes that Julius Thomas has looked good in the offseason so far, he still has a long way to go to make the team.

    That is because Thomas has just one catch to this point in his career and has done next to nothing in Denver. If he doesn't make the most of training camp and the team's four preseason games, it may be his last chance.

    Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen sit ahead of him on the depth chart and the team also has Virgil Green and undrafted rookie Lucas Reed at the position.

    There will be plenty of competition at the position and Thomas faces some tough odds.

Greg Orton, Wide Receiver

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    Believe it or not, Greg Orton is still in the mix at the wide receiver position in Denver. Despite being in the league since 2009 with two different teams, Orton has never caught a pass in the NFL.

    He did reel in 203 passes in college while at Purdue and has 138 career catches in the Arena league as a member of the Arizona Rattlers.

    Whether he can translate any of that success to the NFL remains the question.

    The answer should come this offseason, as Orton goes up against Gerell Robinson, Quincy McDuffie, Lamaar Thomas, Kemonte' Bateman and Andre Caldwell for what will likely be one or two spots on the roster.

    Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and fifth-round draft choice Tavarres King are all but assured to be on the final roster.

    Orton has this opportunity to be a member of the Broncos and play in a regular-season game. He may not get another.

Andre Caldwell, Wide Receiver

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    Outside of their playoff loss to Baltimore and the season Joe Mays had, the Broncos had few disappointments in 2012. However, Andre Caldwell would be on that same list.

    Despite being productive during his four-year tenure in Cincinnati, he basically disappeared in Denver, catching just one pass.

    When he signed with Denver, it seemed like he would be a great fit in the slot as a perfect complement to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Instead, that role went to Brandon Stokley and Caldwell was almost forgotten.

    To overcome that, he must start quick this season, showing the skills that made him a third-round selection in 2008. He will have several players on his heels and will be in a position similar to Greg Orton.

    In fact, it is hard to imagine that both Caldwell and Orton will make the team, so one roster spot could come down to those very two players.