Gut Reaction: Broncos release first depth chart of 2013

The Broncos posted their first depth chart for the 2013 season on Sunday.

As usual, there are a few mild surprises, but nothing that really conflicts with what we've been hearing of players' performances thus far in camp.

Take a peek at the depth chart, and then we'll make a few observations:

Offense

WR Demaryius Thomas Andre Caldwell Greg Orton Gerell Robinson  
LT Ryan Clady Chris Clark      
LG Zane Beadles Quentin Saulsberry Justin Boren Manase Foketi  
C Manny Ramirez C.J. Davis Steve Vallos Ryan Lilja J.D. Walton
RG Louis Vasquez Philip Blake Ben Garland Chris Kuper  
RT Orlando Franklin Vinston Painter Paul Cornick    
TE Joel Dreessen Jacob Tamme Julius Thomas Virgil Green Jake O'Connell
WR Eric Decker Tavarres King Trindon Holliday Lamaar Thomas Kemonte' Bateman
WR Wes Welker Quincy McDuffie      
QB Peyton Manning Brock Osweiler Zac Dysert Ryan Katz  
RB Ronnie Hillman Montee Ball Knowshon Moreno Jacob Hester  
  Jeremiah Johnson C.J. Anderson Lance Ball    

Defense

LDE Derek Wolfe Malik Jackson Jeremy Beal John Youboty  
DT Kevin Vickerson Mitch Unrein Romney Fuga    
NT Terrance Knighton Sylvester Williams Sealver Siliga    
RDE Robert Ayers Shaun Phillips Quanterus Smith Lanston Tanyi  
SLB Von Miller Shaun Phillips Lerentee McCray Damien Holmes  
MLB Nate Irving Stewart Bradley Steven Johnson    
WLB Wesley Woodyard Danny Trevathan Uona Kaveinga    
LCB Champ Bailey Tony Carter Omar Bolden Mario Butler  
RCB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Chris Harris Kayvon Webster Aaron Hester Nigel Malone
SS Mike Adams Duke Ihenacho Quinton Carter Ross Rasner  
FS Rahim Moore David Bruton Quentin Jammer    

Special Teams

K Matt Prater        
P Britton Colquitt Ryan Doerr      
H Britton Colquitt        
LS Aaron Brewer        
PR Trindon Holliday Wes Welker      
KR Trindon Holliday Quincy McDuffie      

Observations

We'll go from top to bottom:

  1. Although Greg Orton and Gerell Robinson have often been praised in camp reports, Andre Caldwell (and his $900K salary) is ahead of both of them.
  2. Currently listed as a fourth-stringer, we'll be surprised if Ryan Lilja isn't starting by Week 1 of the regular season.
  3. Chris Kuper's health issues are surely behind his fourth-string status, but I still expect he'll be a cap casualty once he's taken off the PUP list, what with his $4.5M salary.
  4. The rave reviews for Julius Thomas are reflected in his having jumped over Virgil Green
  5. It shouldn't be a surprise that Ronnie Hillman is listed as the #1 running back, while Montee Ball is ahead of Knowshon Moreno
  6. Is Lance Ball really seventh on the depth chart? If so, his $1.323M salary can't help his cause.
  7. Quant Smith is pretty far down the chart for someone described by Peter King as the most important fifth-rounder in the league. Then again, it would have been a big surprise for him to have already surpassed Shaun Phillips.
  8. So far, so good for Nate Irving in his first real opportunity to land a starting gig.
  9. I continue to believe the Broncos will hang onto six cornerbacks; the injury to DRC underscores the age-old maxim that a team can never have enough defensive backs.
  10. Although Duke Ihenacho and David Bruton have reportedly been among the standouts at Dove Valley, neither has managed to crack the first unit. However, they are ahead of Quinton Carter and Quentin Jammer, respectively.
  11. There's Matt Prater, all alone, with no competition. Ugh.
  12. Of the 22 starters I expect to emerge (counting three wideouts, and either two or three linebackers), 14 have been brought in during John Elway's tenure.

Conclusions

Again, there's nothing earth-shattering here.

There's competition for starting jobs at center, running back, and strong safety, but the rest of the first team is essentially set.

This is as it should be for a preseason overdog like the Broncos.

It's incredible to think that 2.5 years ago, this was a 4-12 team, and 1.5 years ago, it sported a minus-81 point differential with a quarterback who couldn't throw.

Clearly, there's only one thing to say to that:

TYJE.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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