The Broncos have released their first official depth chart of the year; some brief observations:
Without a doubt, the biggest stunner is that Chris Kuper, who received over $13M in guarantees as part of a contract extension in June of 2010 and has been a fixture at RG for four seasons, is listed with the third-team offense behind Russ Hochstein and Eric Olsen. Either this is motivational in nature, or the Broncos really will be scouring the waiver wire for linemen, and hard. FWIW, TJ has been telling me for a long time that he doesn't get why Kuper receives so much praise. Well, apparently Kuper is killing it at practice today, because just in the past hour he's jumped back up to the first team! Or, it was just a typo by the guys running the official site. (Thanks, Royalwithcheese)
2. Despite all the accolades for rookie Julius Thomas' play thus far in camp, and speculation that Richard Quinn's job was in jeopardy, Quinn sits with the second teamers behind newly-acquired Daniel Fells, with Thomas down with the fifth team and fellow rookie Virgil Green sixth.
3. Now, if Thomas is listed down on the depth chart because he's a rookie, that rule doesn't apply to FS Rahim Moore, who joins RT Orlando Franklin
as the only and Von Miller as first-year players listed as starters. Behind Moore and Brian Dawkins are Kyle McCarthy and Darcel McBath, respectively - they sit in front of Quinton Carter and David Bruton, both of whom had figured as almost being assured of making the final roster - Carter due to his status as a fourth-round choice and Bruton for his special-teams prowess.
4. Cassius Vaughn must be impressing, as he's listed as Champ Bailey's first backup at LCB and the top kick returner. Syd'Quan Thompson, who had shown flashes at corner and returning kicks last year as a rookie, is on the third team alongside Perrish Cox, whose legal troubles have put his roster spot in obvious danger.
5. Brodrick Bunkley is listed as the starting nose tackle, while the higher-paid Ty Warren is currently his backup. Meanwhile, Kevin Vickerson is listed with the first-teamers ahead of Marcus Thomas.
6. Although they received the bulk of the first-team snaps early on in camp, rookie LBs Mike Mohamed and Nate Irving are down on the third team, behind Lee Robinson and Mario Haggan, respectively. There had been talk earlier in the offseason that Haggan would be a DE this year, but here he is listed as the backup Mike.
7. I'd be remiss not to mention the QBs here, even if the chart shows no surprises. Kyle Orton is currently listed as the starter with Tim Tebow second and Brady Quinn third.