Posted Thu Jun 24th by Mr.East
It’s time for part two of Prediciting Denver’s 45-Man Game Day Roster. This team it’s the defense’s turn. Another year means yet another defensive coordinator, in Don ‘Wink’ Martindale. How much of an effect will that have on roster decisions?
With many additions and subtractions from the roster already there are many questions left to be answered. Will the new veteran defensive linemen pull through? Will any of the young corners find their way onto the field? Is it time for the 2009 draft class to shine?
Andrew Mason of MaxDenver.com was kind enough to inform me that Denver carries (on average) 5.9 DLs, 7.8 LBs, 8.6 DBs and 3.0 special teamers (punter, kicker, snapper) on game day. Using those numbers, here are some predictions are who will suit the orange and blue.
Defensive line: Chris Baker, Jaron Baston, Ronald Fields, Ben Garland, Jarvis Green, Ryan McBean, Le Kevin Smith, Jeff Stehle, Marcus Thomas, Jamal Williams, Justin Bannan
Will Dress: Jarvis Green, Jamal Williams, Ronald Fields, Ryan McBean, Justin Bannan, Le Kevin Smith
Won’t Dress/Or not make the team: Chris Baker, Marcus Thomas, Jaron Baston, Ben Garland, Jeff Stehle.
Dark Horse: Chris Baker
This is a big area of concern for the Broncos as it has been since 2005. Josh McDaniels brought in 3 veterans in Jarvis Green, Jamal Williams, and Justin Bannan (Josh likes his J’s). All of these new comers are expected to start at their positions. The defensive line is an amalgam of old and new, so there will probably be a good amount of rotation going on. The lack of rotation last year was very detrimental to players like Ronald Fields who had to take nearly every snap. With two starters from last year gone (Kenny Peterson and Vonnie Holliday) the competition for a defensive end spot is wide open. In the end though I don’t think it will be too surprising.
The interesting player to watch is Chris Baker. Baker was inactive for all but one game but did not play. Baker has great size and very surprising speed and it is still shocking that he went undrafted because many had him as high as a second rounder. During preseason Baker played all four games and recorded 4 tackles and a sack (and was very funny on the sidelines). It will be interesting to see what Baker learned while watching for a year.
Will Dress: Jarvis Green, Jamal Williams, Ronald Fields, Ryan McBean, Chris Baker, Marcus Thomas, Justin Bannan.
Won’t Dress/Or not make the team: Jaron Baston, Ben Garland, Le Kevin Smith, Jeff Stehle.
Last season the Broncos starting defensive line only totaled 1 sack. While a 3-4 defensive line doesn’t feature pass rushing defensive linemen, Denver is looking to improve from just one sack in 2009. Off-season acquisitions Jamal Williams and Jarvis Green should fit in well, most likely starting, with Fields, McBean, Baker and Thomas fighting for playing time.
Linebackers,Wesley Woodyard, Kevin Alexander, Baraka Atkins, Akin Ayodele, Robert Ayers, Devin Bishop, Bruce Davis, Elvis Dumervil, Nick Greisen, Mario Haggan, Jammie Kirlew, Jarvis Moss, D.J. Williams, Darrell Reid.
Will Dress: Wesley Woodyard, D.J. Williams, Elvis Dumervil, Mario Haggan, Robert Ayers, Darrell Reid, Akin Ayodele
Won’t Dress/Or will not make the team: Kevin Alexander, Baraka Atkins, Devin Bishop, Bruce Davis, Jammie Kirlew, Nick Greisen, Jarvis Moss
Dark Horse: Akin Ayodele
The linebacking corp is a glass is half empty/full situation. Denver has a pretty good guy in the inside in D.J. Williams and a guy who needs a contract on the outside in Elvis Dumervil. The other two positions are open competiton. Mario Haggan will try his hand at the other ILB with competition from Akin Ayodele and Nick Griesen.
The big question though is who will start opposite of Dumervil? I’m sure Josh McDaniels would love for Robert Ayers to step up and dominate that position, but he hasn’t shown too much promise. If Darrell Reid wasn’t out due to his knee surgery I’d pencil him in as the starter, so Ayers just may get his chance. Rookie Jammie Kirlew will most likely be practice squaded or waived.
The dark horse of this batch is Akin Ayodele. Wesley Woodyard may be a serious liability at ILB but he’s a special teams ace, which secures him a spot. Akin Ayodele only signed a one-year deal so he will have to beat out Mario Haggan or prove his worth some other way. Ayodele has a wealth of experience in the league so don’t expect him to go down without a fight.
Will Dress: Wesley Woodyard, D.J. Williams, Elvis Dumervil, Mario Haggan, Akin Ayodele, Robert Ayers, Darrell Reid, Jarvis Moss.
Won’t Dress/Or will not make the team: Kevin Alexander, Baraka Atkins, Devin Bishop, Bruce Davis, Jammie Kirlew, Nick Greisen.
Like every other position, the Broncos’ linebacking corps will be full of competition come training camp. Pro Bowler Elvis Dumervil will again be the outside linebacker, with Williams, Haggan and Ayodele playing ILB, and Moss, Ayers, and Woodyard possibly rotating at ILB. I almost consider Darrell Reid a defensive lineman, but he made the LB list, pushing off Jammie Kirlew. With Reid recovering from knee surgery, Kirlew should get to dress for some games, contributing on special teams. Greisen will probably make the game day roster, due to his special teams contributions, and Denver’s 8 game day LB’s may change from week-to-week.
Defensive Backs: Champ Bailey, Tony Carter, Perrish Cox, Andre’ Goodman, Nate Jones, Josh Barrett, David Bruton, Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill, Darcel McBath, Kyle McCarthy, Alphonso Smith, Cassius Vaughn, Syd’Quan Thompson.
Will Dress: Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman, Nate Jones, Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill, Darcel McBath, David Bruton, Perrish Cox
Won’t Dress/Or may not make the team: Alphonso Smith, Tony Carter, Syd’Quan Thompson, Josh Barrett, Cassius Vaughn, Kyle McCarthy
Dark Horse: Josh Barrett, Alphonso Smith, and Tony Carter
Naming all the starters is easy enough, but naming the nickel corner is the hard part. Nate Jones has plenty of experience as well as competition. In order for Jones to be win that spot he will have to beat out Alphonso Smith, Perrish Cox, Syd’Quan Thompson, and Tony Carter. That will be no easy task. However, I think he will start the season out as the nickel corner. This doesn’t mean he will play ever snap though. I have high expectations for Perrish Cox and I think he is capable of earning his opportunity to play nickel on the field. Syd’Quan Thompson will most likely spend the year on and off the bench or on the practice squad.
Alphonso Smith may have had a bad rookie year but I believe he will be much improved come this one. Smith may not start, but he will contribute on special teams which could give him an active roster spot. Josh Barrett also is a great special teamer, but he was only active for 14 games last year and it isn’t like Darcel McBath and David Bruton are getting any worse. Tony Carter showed promise last year so I’m not counting him out, but he has a tough road ahead of him.
Will Dress: Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman, Alphonso Smith, Nate Jones, Syd’Quan Thompson, Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill, Darcel McBath, David Bruton.
Won’t Dress/Or may not make the team: Tony Carter, Perrish Cox, Josh Barrett, Cassius Vaughn, Kyle McCarthy.
The Broncos secondary could be one of the strongest in years this season. Rookie corners Perrish Cox and Kyle McCarthy have unlimited potential, but I didn’t list them as dressing because Denver only carries 8.6 defensive backs. The secondary’s starters shouldn’t change much from last season, with Bailey and Goodman at Cornerback, and Dawkins joining Hill as the two safties. Syd’Quan Thompson and Nate Jones should get some playing time in Denver’s “Nickle” defense, but not as much playing time as Alphonso Smith. Second year corner Tony Carter is the best of the rest, but still is a bit of a long shot. Safties McBath and Bruton continue to improve with coverage, and will also contribute on special teams.
Special Teamers: Matt Prater, Lonnie Paxton, Britton Colquitt
Mr.East & Jon
The three players listed above will dress.
With every other set position, I struggled and went back and forth with picks; special teams was different, as the Broncos only [currently] carry one player at K, P, and LS. Prater could have a Pro Bowl season, having been steady. Paxton is the highest paid Long Snapper – for good reason, Denver has so much faith in Colquitt they released his competition – A.J. Trapaso.
If you count both series up you’ll see that there are more than 45 players listed. This is due to the give and take of some players being inactive for only a few games here and there. Be sure to share your thoughts and picks in the comments!