Predicting Denver Broncos' First Wave of Roster Cuts
The Denver Broncos recently completed their annual Summer Scrimmage at Sports Authority Field in front on a crowd of over 38,000 fans.
For those same excited Broncos fans, only a portion of the team they saw on Saturday will take the field once the regular season starts in September.
All NFL teams will be required to trim their roster from 90 players down to 75 by Aug. 26. Players like Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware are obviously safe, but as the Seattle Seahawks proved last season, it takes a complete team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
The coaching staff will be focused on exactly what is the best combination of 53 players to put on the field this year. Knowing that, any players who are low on the depth chart must step up now to avoid being cut.
But roster cuts are part of the business that is the NFL, and the Broncos will be letting many very good players go. Here is a look at the players who could be part of the first wave of cuts later this month.
Sure to Be Cut
Nathan Palmer, Wide Receiver: The Broncos are incredibly deep at the wide receiver position and will need to cut any dead weight from the roster to be able to clearly evaluate the rest of the players at that position. Nathan Palmer will be cut loose.
Cody Larsen, Defensive Tackle: After putting together a solid college career at Southern Utah University, Cody Larsen spent some time during the 2013 season with the Baltimore Ravens. He hasn't even been a member of the Broncos for a week. However, all he'll get with the team is a few preseason games. The Broncos just have too many quality defensive linemen battling for roster spots.
Cameron Morrah, Tight End: Julius Thomas had a breakout year in 2013 and will be one of the league's premier tight ends going forward. Due to that, the Broncos will be looking for tight ends that can complement what Thomas brings to the table.
Jacob Tamme has a long history of trust with Peyton Manning and the team has Virgil Green and converted wide receiver Gerell Robinson, who the Broncos would love to see develop into a serious offensive weapon.
There is simply no room for the veteran Morrah, who has just 16 career receptions despite being in the league since 2009.
Other Players Sure to be Cut
Greg Latta, Defensive End
Chase Vaughn, Defensive End
Jerrell Harris, Linebacker
Charles Mitchell, Safety
Mitch Ewald, Kicker
Greg Latta has missed several practices due to injury, and as an undrafted rookie, he needs to be out there every day showing what he can do.
And Mitch ewald misses a 40 yarder to end practice and probably his broncos career— Darren McKee (@dmac1043) July 30, 2014
Mitch Ewald should get a chance to show what he can do in the preseason and perhaps get a shot at catching on with another team. He's obviously not taking Matt Prater's job. Ewald scored 320 points during his college career at Indiana, making 53-of-66 field-goal attempts.
Probably Will Be Cut
Jameson Konz, Tight End: Jameson Konz is a versatile player who can also line up at linebacker on the defensive side of the ball. The problem for him is that the Broncos have a wealth of talent in front of him at both positions.
Unless Konz can make an impact on special teams, he will almost certainly be part of the first round of cuts. He has also missed some time in practice as well.
Interesting (maybe not noteworthy) that Jameson Konz is the fourth TE ahead of Robinson and Morrah.— Dan Armelli (@dano708) August 4, 2014
Will Pericak, Defensive End: Like Cody Larsen, Will Pericak was signed on July 30 to round out the 90-man roster. Pericak played at the University of Colorado and could become a favorite of many fans due to his local ties, but he is just buried too far down the depth chart to make the team.
On the Bubble
Bennie Fowler, Wide Receiver: Currently, the Broncos have 12 wide receivers on the roster. At the very least, five of those are all but guaranteed roster spots. Because of that, the Broncos will likely trim several players from that position in order to get a longer look at other players for the final preseason game.
Bennie Fowler will have to put together a very solid preseason to even have a chance at obtaining a spot on the practice squad.
Undrafted out of Michigan State, Fowler has the tools to play in the NFL. He is aggressive in attacking the ball and can be very dangerous after the catch.
If you're a fan of Fowler, ESPN's Jeff Legwold reported some encouraging news that Fowler has been working well with backup quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Greg Wilson, Wide Receiver: Greg Wilson is in the same boat as Fowler, but probably faces even longer odds of making the team in any capacity.
Wilson played his college days at Fordham and spent a portion of last season on the Broncos practice squad. But he comes into 2014 behind a very talented group of wide receivers.
Wilson will likely make some plays in camp and could help bring along some of the backup quarterbacks in preseason games, but he will almost certainly be a camp casualty, likely in the first wave of cuts.
Ryan Miller, Offensive Lineman: You could take your pick between Ryan Miller and Paul Cornick here, but Cornick has more experience playing in Denver.
The Broncos released their first official depth chart on Sunday and Miller is listed as the No. 3 right guard behind Vinston Painter and Louis Vasquez. There is little chance that he'll get out of that spot either, so he'll end up becoming dead weight by the end of the preseason.
Jerodis Williams, Running Back
After being signed by the Broncos in the early part of the offseason, Jerodis Williams was likely hoping to make a splash in the Denver backfield.
Then the team signed three very talented undrafted rookies—Kapri Bibbs, Juwan Thompson and Brennan Clay—leaving the odds of Williams making the roster at slim and none.
During camp, Williams has shown good ability as a receiver out of the backfield, and that is a huge bonus in the Denver offensive system.
A name to remember in the backup RB competition for #Broncos - Jerodis Williams - made some good plays as receiver out of the backfield 2day— Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey) June 2, 2014
Still, he has his work cut out for him to win a job considering the other running backs the Broncos have in camp.
Bryn Renner, Quarterback
Undrafted out of North Carolina, Bryn Renner is very capable of competing for the No. 3 quarterback spot in Denver. However, there is no guarantee the Broncos will even keep three quarterbacks, as they did last year.
Renner is an intelligent quarterback who can make all the intermediate throws. However, he hasn't seen very many reps in camp as Zac Dysert continues to hold down the No. 3 spot on the roster.
Renner has several disadvantages in his quest to make the team. On top of the small amount of time he's gotten to learn the offense, Dysert already has a year under his belt in Denver.
Bryn Renner gets a snap in seven-on-seven. First of camp. Incomplete. Deflected near line of scrimmage.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2014
Expect to see Renner get mop-up duty in the preseason before finding himself on the list of the first wave of roster cuts. Maybe another team out there will see something in him.