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:
|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|
|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|
|P||Britton Colquitt||Ryan Doerr|
|PR||Trindon Holliday||Wes Welker|
|KR||Trindon Holliday||Quincy McDuffie|
We'll go from top to bottom:
- 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.
- Currently listed as a fourth-stringer, we'll be surprised if Ryan Lilja isn't starting by Week 1 of the regular season.
- 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.
- The rave reviews for Julius Thomas are reflected in his having jumped over Virgil Green
- It shouldn't be a surprise that Ronnie Hillman is listed as the #1 running back, while Montee Ball is ahead of Knowshon Moreno
- Is Lance Ball really seventh on the depth chart? If so, his $1.323M salary can't help his cause.
- 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.
- So far, so good for Nate Irving in his first real opportunity to land a starting gig.
- 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.
- 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.
- There's Matt Prater, all alone, with no competition. Ugh.
- 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.
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: