Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for Denver Broncos
Now that the 2014 NFL draft has been completed, we can start to look at how the new players fit into each team's plans.
The Broncos selected six new players within the draft and at least a few of them should get the opportunity to contribute early.
Sure, mini-camps have yet to start and there is still plenty of time before training camp opens later this summer, but this will give fans a chance to see where the team stands now.
So here it is, a look at the Denver Broncos' depth chart following the draft.
Starter: Peyton Manning
Second String: Brock Osweiler
Third String: Zac Dysert
Fourth String: Bryn Renner
Peyton Manning is the obvious starter for this team, and he will be until the day he walks away from the game. What Denver really needs to find out this season is what they have behind him.
The Broncos selected a quarterback in the past two drafts, taking Brock Osweiler in 2012 and Zac Dysert last year. Manning will be coming into his third season with the Broncos and he turned 38 years old in March.
It will be very interesting to see how much Osweiler and Dysert have progressed since last season, as one of them will have to take the reins of the team at some point.
Starter: Montee Ball
Second String: Ronnie Hillman
Third String: C.J. Anderson
Fourth String: Jerodis Williams
Fifth String and Beyond: Kapri Bibbs, Brennan Clay and Juwan Thompson
The Broncos chose not to select a running back in this year's draft. They also allowed Knowshon Moreno to leave via free agency after his best year it Denver.
That all points to one thing—the organization is very much behind Montee Ball.
After sitting behind Moreno last year and showing flashes of what he can do, Ball will get every opportunity to be the team's primary running back for many years to come.
Can Ronnie Hillman hold off C.J. Anderson for the backup spot? That will be one of the more interesting battles to watch in training camp and preseason games.
Kapri Bibbs, Brennan Clay and Juwan Thompson were all added as undrafted rookie free agents.
Second String: Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer
Third String: Jordan Norwood, Greg Wilson and Nathan Palmer
Fourth String and Beyond: Isaiah Burse, Greg Hardin and Bennie Fowler
Denver decided to use their second-round draft pick on Cody Latimer, a wide receiver from Indiana. Last year, Latimer caught 72 passes for nearly 1,100 yards for the Hoosiers.
He'll fit right in with this team, giving Peyton Manning another weapon to look for down the field. Latimer is a strong, explosive receiver with very good hands.
Isaiah Burse, Greg Hardin and Bennie Fowler were all added as undrafted rookie free agents.
Burse will be one to watch. Last season at Fresno State, he caught 99 passes for 1,026 yards. He could also give the Broncos a lift in the return game, something they'll need to work on after the departure of Trindon Holliday.
Starter: Julius Thomas
Second String: Jacob Tamme
Third String: Joel Dreessen
Fourth String: Virgil Green
Fifth String: Gerell Robinson
Sixth String: Cameron Morrah
The only thing that is set in stone here is that Julius Thomas will be the starting tight end. After having an excellent 2013 campaign, he could become one of the league's premiere tight ends this season.
Virgil Green will be a player to keep your eyes on. If Denver likes what they see out of him heading into the season, Jacob Tamme or Joel Dreessen—or both—could become expendable.
Gerell Robinson has been converted from wide out to tight end.
Left Tackle: Ryan Clady, Winston Justice
Left Guard: Orlando Franklin, Ben Garland, Ramon Harewood
Center: Manny Ramirez, Will Montgomery, Matthew Paradis
Left Guard: Louis Vasquez, Vinston Painter, Ryan Miller
Right Tackle: Chris Clark, Michael Schofield, Paul Cornick, Aslam Sterling
The Broncos have made the decision to move Orlando Franklin from tackle to guard. This will allow them to insert Chris Clark into the starting lineup.
Clark played well for the most part in 2013 in place of injured All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady.
The Broncos drafted Michael Schofield in the third round of the draft and then took Matthew Paradis to give the team another option at center.
Manny Ramirez was the center by default in 2013, but the team found Paradis in the draft along with Will Montgomery through free agency to give him some competition heading into this season.
Starters: Terrance Knighton and Sylvester Williams
Second String: Kevin Vickerson and Mitch Unrein
Third String: Marvin Austin and Sione Fua
Fourth String: Mister Cobble
Starters: DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe
Second String: Malik Jackson and Quanterus Smith
Third String: Hall Davis and John Youboty
Fourth String: Kenny Anunike and Greg Latta
The Broncos chose not to add another defensive end through the draft, feeling confident in the veteran addition of DeMarcus Ware and the rising star in Malik Jackson.
Derek Wolfe played in just 11 games last season. In 2014, his health will be key. The team also needs to see Quanterus Smith, a fifth-round draft choice last year who missed the entire season due to injury, step up.
The defensive tackle position is one where the Broncos have great depth.
Terrance Knighton became a force towards the end of last season and Kevin Vickerson is still a solid option should Sylvester Williams not prove worthy of the first-round pick Denver used on him a year ago.
The team also signed Marvin Austin last week, a former second-round pick of the New York Giants. Austin has been a major disappointment since being selected in 2011, but the Broncos will see if they can get anything out of him.
Starter: Von Miller
Second String: Lamin Barrow
Third String: Brandon Marshall
Fourth String: Shaquil Barrett
Starter: Nate Irving
Second String: Lerentee McCray
Third String: Jamar Chaney
Fourth String: L.J. Fort
Starter: Danny Trevathan
Second String: Steven Johnson
Third String: Corey Nelson
Fourth String: Jameson Konz
Fifth String: Jerrell Harris
Denver added two more linebackers in the draft, selecting Lamin Barrow out of LSU in the fifth round and Oklahoma's Corey Nelson in the seventh round.
The Broncos were looking to add more depth to the linebacker corps, but both Barrow and Nelson should compete for roster spots.
Barrow is a versatile player that can line up as an outside linebacker or be moved to the inside. He's also good in coverage, a trait Denver definitely valued. Over the course of the last two seasons, Barrow racked up 195 tackles at LSU.
As for Nelson, he is a small linebacker (6'0", 231 pounds), but he has the ability to be a sideline-to-sideline player.
One player to keep an eye on is Shaquil Barrett, who Denver added as an undrafted rookie. In 2013 at Colorado State, Barrett had 12 sacks. Much like Lerentee McCray last year, he could push for a roster spot in training camp.
The Broncos still seem to be a bit unsettled at the middle linebacker position, and when camp opens, Nate Irving will likely be penciled in as the starter. However, expect to see McCray get a shot at assuming the position.
Starters: Aqib Talib and Chris Harris
Second String: Bradley Roby and Kayvon Webster
Third String: Tony Carter and Jerome Murphy
Fourth String: Jordan Sullen and Louis Young
This offseason, the Broncos parted ways with Champ Bailey and watched Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sign a free-agent deal with the New York Giants.
They landed a huge free agent of their own in Aqib Talib, but they had to be beyond thrilled when they were able to find Bradley Roby at the bottom of the first round of the draft.
Though Roby is only 5'11" and 194 pounds, he plays much bigger than that.
Roby possesses great ball skills to go along with good recovery speed. He is also a very aggressive cornerback who will add some great depth to the Denver secondary. He should see the field early and often in 2014.
Starter: Rahim Moore
Second String: Quinton Carter
Third String: Omar Bolden
Fourth String and Beyond: Eric Hagg, John Boyett, Charles Mitchell
Starter: T.J. Ward
Second String: Duke Ihenacho
Third String: David Bruton
These slots seem pretty cut and dry. Moore and Ward will be the starters all season barring injury. The big question will surround Quinton Carter and whether or not he has anything left to offer the team.
After a solid rookie season, Carter has played in just three games over the last two full seasons.
Starter: Matt Prater
Starter: Britton Colquitt
Second String: Steven Clark
Starter: Aaron Brewer
Starter: Wes Welker
Starter: Omar Bolden
Britton Colquitt will not be the only punter in training camp for the Broncos after the team brought in Auburn's Steven Clark as an undrafted rookie.
After losing Trindon Holliday to free agency, the Broncos need to find the right players to return punts and kicks. While Holliday was capable of breaking a return for a touchdown any time he got his hands on the ball, he was prone to fumbles and muffed kicks.
For this reason, the Broncos will likely start with the combination of the sure-handed Wes Welker returning punts and reserve defensive back Omar Bolden bringing back kicks.
In the case of Bolden, special teams may be the only way he makes the final roster. He has experience returning kicks, which is why the Broncos will likely start with him. Still, they will probably give looks to several other players in the role of kick returner before the season starts.