Now that the initial depth chart for the Broncos has been released, it's easy to forget that head coach Josh McDaniels has already pointed out that it's not of any major interest. It's essentially a snapshot of a few moments in camp and tells us only who was where on a certain day. With that disclaimer out of the way, we can now get on to the real task of over-analyzing, jumping to conclusions and cross referencing the information.
Alphonso Smith has the first slot on punt and kick returns, lightening the load on Mt. Royal. Does anyone else recall a certain debatable 2nd rounder doing well on returns for us last season? Thought not....Every way that we can get this guy onto the field excites me.
The little-heard-from Kory Lichtensteiger showing up #2 at Center: Nice to see that he's still a player of interest. I really like this guy, short arms and all. You like it when a player has a nasty streak, especially a guard/center. I'm still unconvinced that Schlueter will make the grade at 279 lb.
Stokley, Royal and Gaffney starting at WR. Sure, Marshall is injured, but there's also a moral here. If Marshall can't go for any reason, the Broncos are in better shape than many folks think. I'd love to see Brandon out there, and we're a better team when he is. But we have great depth at the position, and that's a comforting thought. Nate Swift, our rookie out of Nebraska, caught my eye at the #2 slot behind Stokley - I thought that McKinley might go to the slot, but he's behind Lloyd as it stands now. Interesting....This is the best group of receivers that I can recall seeing coming into camp. We're going to argue abuot the cuts...
Does anyone really believe that Peyton Hillis and Knowshon Moreno will be #'s 3 and 4 on the RB depth chart when the season opens? I didn't think so. This may speak to how little the 'starter' means in this rushing attack more than anything else. Look for lots of changes over the next 4 weeks.
Thomas and Askew as the backup DEs: I was watching the Steelers camp info this past week. The articles I read mentioned that they don't have a single starting slot open, that Evander Hood is hopefully backing up at DE and that the prediction right now is that only 2-4 new players out of the draft and FA will make the team. That tells you more about McBean than the 'He's just a practice squad guy' people want to hear. He couldn't crack the depth chart of the deepest defense in the league. So? Askew and McBean are both 4th round players, both started out on a practice squad and both are showing good potential. Keep in mind that DL players take a few years to get established. Do you recall how they said that Mario Williams with Texas was a total bust? That tune has changed...Both McBean and Askew are 6'5 and have long arms, perfect for the position. Is Everette Pedescleaux on the bubble? Will Rulon Davis get well long enough to make this team? At least a couple of sentimental favorites are going to be cut, but some may see the PS.
Is anyone really surprised to see Chris Baker at the #2 NT slot? That young man is big, strong and has a low center of gravity (6'2 and 330 makes for a very tough fella to move). The position takes some time to learn, and Ron Fields has the experience to play it well. Nice to see that falling together. My bet is that Thomas couldn't hold the weight and still play with the explosion that we were starting to appreciate in him last year.
Something I didn't know - Mario Haggan had a better time in the 40 than Spencer Larsen. Both of them bring something special on special teams. Mario may or may not start this year, but he's showing that he can bring a lot to the table. Haggan is listed at ILB on the team roster and OLB on the depth chart. The cuts at OLB are going to hurt, no matter who we keep.
Speaking of special teams - So, Wes Woodyard, Larsen, Haggan, Reid, Bruton, McBath, Smith, Crowder, Ayers, and Barrett. That's a group for ST that I'm looking forward to seeing come together. Huge hitters.
Jack Williams is backing up Andre Goodman while Smith backs up Champ. Given that you will generally lose a few games from each corner over the course of a season, that pick is looking pretty good to me right now. Nice to see Jack W getting motivated.
I smile ever time I see Daniel Graham, Tony Scheffler and Richard Quinn lined up 1, 2, 3 at TE on the depth chart. I'm betting that we'll appreciate the Quinn pick as the year goes on. Jeb who?
I linked as many players as possible to earlier articles for those who are interested. Who is your favorite longshot to make the squad?