Training camp is right around the corner, and the Denver Broncos will soon be taking the field at Dove Valley.
Before you know it, the team will be rolling out the final 53-man roster, finishing up the preseason and taking on the Baltimore Ravens in the 2013 season opener on September 5. Training camp will come and go quickly, with many story lines along the way.
Let's take a stab at projecting the team's final 53-man roster before camp kicks off.
(Note that the practice squad will not be fully assembled in this post, but in some cases, certain players are dubbed practice squad editions after barely not making the cut.)
Active Roster (2): Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler
Practice Squad: Zac Dysert
Analysis: No surprises here, as Brock Osweiler returns to again back up future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
It's hard to see the team carrying three QBs, but if they do, Zac Dysert will be No. 3.
In the meantime, we have Dysert being stashed on the practice squad for safe keeping (although it's not that safe considering that a team can sign him off it of to their active roster). Depending on how worried they are about another team snatching Dysert away, the Broncos will have to make a decision on how many QBs they will carry this season.
Active Roster (3): Ronnie Hillman, Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball
Practice Squad: C.J. Anderson
Analysis: Cut day will not be kind to Lance Ball and Jeremiah Johnson, who have both run out of practice squad eligibility.
Rookie C.J. Anderson makes the practice unit, as he is primed to have a good summer.
A "good summer" will not be enough to beat out either Ronnie Hillman, Knowshon Moreno or Montee Ball, however, as the three are primed to enter the season as Denver's top three RBs. Going into camp, the starting job is Hillman's to lose.
Active Roster (1): Jacob Hester
Analysis: Hester, who is technically listed as a running back on the team's roster, can handle blocking, running, receiving and special teams duties, making him a valuable asset to the team.
If the team carries a fullback, it will be Hester.
Active Roster (5): Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Trindon Holliday, Tavarres King
Practice Squad: Gerell Robinson, Greg Orton
Analysis: The receiving corps is simply too crowded for Robinson, but he is worth stashing again on the practice squad.
If the team carries six receivers, Greg Orton is on deck, as he has the potential to make a big splash this summer.
The top three—Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker—are obvious, and Trindon Holliday will make the team based off his value as a returner alone. Then there's Tavarres King, who was drafted by the team in the fifth round of April's draft.
It's hard to see the team part ways with any five of those receivers, which spells bad news for the likes of Andre Caldwell, among others.
Active Roster (4): Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, Julius Thomas
Analysis: In a Peyton Manning offense, you can never have too many tight ends.
Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen will return as the team's starting tight ends, with Julius Thomas ready to assume more playing time after finally returning to full health.
Virgil Green is oh so close to making the cut to supply depth at the position, but he will ultimately come up short.
Active Roster (4): Ryan Clady, Orlando Franklin, Chris Clark, Vinston Painter
Analysis: Returning starters Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin will handling the duties at left and right tackle, respectively, with Chris Clark and Vinston Painter providing youthful depth behind them.
Active Roster (7): Manny Ramirez, Phillip Blake, Louis Vasquez, Zane Beadles, Ben Garland, J.D. Walton, Dan Koppen
Analysis: At center, Dan Koppen will return to start in the place of the injured J.D. Walton again, with Phillip Blake and Manny Ramirez providing depth behind him.
At guard, Zane Beadles and Louis Vasquez will start, with Ben Garland, Ramirez and Blake providing depth behind them.
Denver has several versatile offensive linemen who are interchangeable along the offensive line. It is very handy when one player can fill two backup gigs.
Active Roster (4): Von Miller, Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan, Shaun Phillips
Analysis: Denver has two rising stars in Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard. They also have reliable depth in rotational linebacker Danny Trevathan and pass-rush specialist Shaun Phillips.
Expect Miller and Woodyard to rarely leave the field, with Phillips spending time at defensive end and Trevathan seeing time at both outside and inside linebacker.
Active Roster (3): Nate Irving, Stewart Bradley, Steven Johnson
Analysis: Expect Nate Irving to win the starting job, with Stewart Bradley and Steven Johnson being retained to provide linebacker and special teams depth.
Active Roster (4): Derek Wolfe, Robert Ayers, Jeremy Beal, Quanterus Smith
Practice Squad: Malik Jackson
Analysis: The Broncos have a lot of depth at defensive end, and they can get a lot of production out of all five of the players listed above by utilizing them in rotational roles.
Derek Wolfe and Robert Ayers will be the left and right ends, respectively, with Quanterus Smith showing the most upside as a relief rusher. Behind Smith is Jeremy Beal and Malik Jackson, two young players that have the potential to impress again, as they did last summer.
(4): Terrance Knighton, Kevin Vickerson, Sylvester Williams, Mitch Unrein
Analysis: Kevin Vickerson is a returning starter and Terrance Knighton was brought in from Jacksonville during free agency. Behind them will be rookie Sylvester Williams and the versatile Mitch Unrein, who has also spent time at fullback.
Expect Denver to use a rotational scheme with the four players listed above, featuring Knighton and Vickerson early and often.
Active Roster (6): Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, Jr., Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Kayvon Webster, Omar Bolden, Tony Carter
Practice Squad: Aaron Hester
Analysis: The Broncos have a surplus of cornerbacks and may not end up keeping six of them, but it would be a shame to cut any one of the talented defensive backs listed above.
Champ Bailey and DRC will likely be the two starting corners, with Chris Harris handling slot duties.
Behind them, rookie Kayvon Webster will compete with youngsters Omar Bolden and Tony Carter for playing time.
(4): Quentin Jammer, Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter, David Bruton
Analysis: Listed as a "defensive back" on the team's roster, Quentin Jammer is really a safety, and he will probably compete with Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter to earn a starting gig.
Last but definitely not least is David Bruton, who is a special teams ace. Bruton also provides nice depth at the safety position, making him a valuable defensive back.
(3): Matt Prater, Britton Colquitt, Aaron Brewer
Analysis: No surprises here, as the specialist trio from last season will return for another go-around in 2013.
Matt Prater will handle kicking duties, Britton Colquitt has punting locked up, and Aaron Brewer will be long-snapping.