Making the Call on Denver Broncos' Hardest Remaining Cuts

Travis WakemanFeatured Columnist IVAugust 27, 2013

Making the Call on Denver Broncos' Hardest Remaining Cuts

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    The regular season is about to officially kick off in the NFL as the Denver Broncos have the Baltimore Ravens coming to town in just over one week.

    Before that, the team will have to trim their roster down to 53 players. Earlier in the week, the Broncos released 11 players bringing their roster down to 77.

    Still, several more cuts need to be made—24 to be exact. While some of those players will be placed on the team's practice squad, the Broncos still have plenty of decisions looming prior to the first game of the season.

    So, who is on the roster bubble and what side of it will they end up on? The front office and coaching staff will be faced with some tough decisions. Here, we will look at the players they will have the toughest time deciding on.

Zac Dysert, Quarterback

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    Zac Dysert has only in appeared in one preseason game thus far, completing all three of his passes for 16 yards against the 49ers.

    Instead, the Broncos have opted to give extended work to Brock Osweiler, allowing him to develop in his second year with the team.

    Dysert will likely see plenty of time in the preseason finale on Thursday against the Arizona Cardinals. His performance in that game may determine whether he sticks with the team or not, though he may just be playing for a spot on the practice squad.

    The Broncos saw enough in Dysert to use a seventh-round draft pick on him in April, but whether they spend a roster spot on a third quarterback is hard to say—but it doesn't seem likely.

C.J. Anderson, Running Back

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    C.J. Anderson had 69 yards rushing on 15 carries in his only preseason game, but was injured not long after during practice.

    Though the injury doesn't appear to be season-ending, it will keep Anderson on the shelf for awhile. So, what do the Broncos do with the undrafted rookie who looked impressive against San Francisco?

    They could keep him on the roster despite the fact that he will be out several weeks—at least—or they could option him to the practice squad. Of course, the third choice would be to release him altogether.

    Anderson showed a lot of promise in the limited action he saw. The Broncos running back situation seems a little shaky with Ronnie Hillman's ball security issues and Montee Ball whiffing on blocks during pas-protection.

    Because of that, there is a spot on the roster for Anderson, though the practice squad seems more likely.

Jacob Hester, Running Back

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    Jacob Hester should be on the team this season, it really shouldn't even be much of a question.

    The Broncos will use a committee approach when it comes to the running game, splitting time between Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. They'll probably sprinkle Knowshon Moreno here and there, too.

    But Hester provides an experienced, durable player that can help out in short-yardage situations. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, making him valuable on third downs.

    Hester will make the roster and the team will opt to part ways with Jeremiah Johnson and Lance Ball.

Andre Caldwell, Wide Receiver

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    It's hard to decipher why Andre Caldwell is still on the team. He caught one pass in the regular season last year, and through this preseason he has made four catches.

    To his credit, he did have success in Cincinnati and the Broncos are giving him every opportunity to show he can be that player again.

    Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Tavarres King and Trindon Holliday should all be locked into roster spots. That will leave Caldwell battling to make the team.

    Look for a sixth wide receiver to make the squad with the final decision coming down to either Caldwell or Gerell Robinson.

Manny Ramirez, Offensive Lineman

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    One of the biggest questions for the Broncos since the start of training camp has concerned the center position. Just who will snap the ball to Peyton Manning this year?

    Manny Ramirez was shifted over to the position after Dan Koppen went down with a season-ending injury during practice, but will he line up in that spot in the opener?

    Ramirez has C.J. Davis, Steve Vallos and Ryan Lilja all looking to take the position away from him and Denver will likely let two of those players go.

    Ramirez is familiar with the team and the offense so he should be safe. Lilja, who came out of retirement to join the Broncos, should serve as his backup.

     

Virgil Green, Tight End

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    The tight end position is one to keep an eye on as final roster cuts approach. The Broncos have four tight ends who all bring something to the team.

    Julius Thomas has emerged this offseason and seems to be blossoming into the player the team hoped he would be when they drafted him out of Portland State.

    But what about Virgil Green? Could he beat out either Joel Dreessen or Jacob Tamme for a spot on the roster?

    Both Tamme and Dreessen have been hobbled by injuries this offseason and that could open the door for Green.

    However, if Tamme and Dreessen are both healthy and ready to go when the season starts, Green could be given his walking papers.

     

Mitch Unrein, Defensive Tackle

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    As the 2012 season wore on, Mitch Unrein became a more valuable member of the Denver Broncos each week.

    He was a good rotational defensive lineman and he made the most of his chances lining up in goal-line packages, even catching a touchdown pass.

    The Broncos beefed up the defensive tackle position in the offseason, signing free agent Terrance Knighton and using their first-round draft choice on Sylvester Williams out of North Carolina.

    Unrein's chances of making the team likely increased with the recent trade (Pro Football Talk) of Sealver Siliga to Seattle.

    Denver will probably keep four defensive tackles on the team, leaving undrafted rookie Romney Fuga as Unrein's only competition. Unrein has the advantage there.

    An undrafted rookie in 2010 out of Wyoming, Unrein has already overcome many odds to make it to the level he has.

Stewart Bradley, Linebacker

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    Stewart Bradley was brought in as a free agent to provide competition at the linebacker position. Perhaps that is what Nate Irving needed in order to step up.

    Irving seems to have the starting middle linebacker position wrapped up, but Bradley should still provide a solid option off the bench as a veteran defensive presence.

    With Irving and second-year linebacker Danny Trevathan expected to see a lot of playing time this season, Bradley will be a good guy offering advice and pointers to the young players.

Tony Carter, Cornerback

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    Champ Bailey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Harris and Kayvon Webster will all make the final roster, but the Broncos will need more defensive backs.

    Tony Carter will no doubt be one of those. He provides a solid option in the Broncos' nickel and dime packages and he has good ball skills.

    He stepped up for the team many times last season and was one of the biggest reasons they had the miraculous comeback against San Diego on Monday Night Football last October.

     

Quentin Jammer, Safety

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    The only way Quentin Jammer makes the final roster is if the coaching staff isn't satisfied with the players in front of him.

    Of course, the news that Quinton Carter was placed on season-ending injured reserve (Pro Football talk) today might influence them to keep him around for depth.

    Jammer was signed as a free agent after spending his entire career in San Diego at cornerback. The Broncos have tried to convert him to safety.

    But with the emergence of Duke Ihenacho and the fact that they still have Rahim Moore, Mike Adams and David Bruton, Jammer is expendable.

    This could be one of the final roster decisions. Instead of holding onto Jammer, the Broncos should keep a younger player who can contribute on special teams.