There were a lot of big names missing off of the Broncos initial 53-man roster. But who exactly were the biggest surprises....to make the team and to be cut?
Surprises that stuck
That's a little cold blooded huh? It came as a shock to me when it was announced that both Konz and Morrah had been cut and Robinson stuck to the roster. Calling Robinson a TE is a reach at this point. He's a big, slow, WR who can't block. But let's get past Gerrell for a moment. The Broncos are only taking 3 TE to their active roster for the first time since 2011 when they carried 4 RB and 1 FB. In a pinch Virgil Green can play some FB.
On to Corey Nelson. I figured he would pass on through waivers on to our practice squad pretty easily, but with him on the roster it does give the Broncos an additional cover guy. I didn't think Nelson played that great but they must really like his potential and athleticism.
Steven Johnson seemed like he was doomed from the beginning. He wasn't tapped to play coverage LB, he wasn't getting too many reps at the MIKE, but in the end he made plays with the reps he was given. Steven Johnson will make some good contributions to the special teams unit and will be there in case his number is called on defense.
2. Mitch Unrein
I give Mitch all the credit in the world. From the beginning of the offseason he was fighting a battle from the bottom of the depth chart. This is someone I want on my team because he didn't quit when things were looking bad. He fought all the way until the final preseason game and when his job was on the line, he turned in a spectacular performance. Our defense is going to benefit greatly from the leadership Mitch brings to the table.
1. Tony Carter
Kudos the our readers who correctly pegged the final spot in the defensive secondary as a battle between Tony Carter and Duke Ihenacho. Had the Broncos decided to go 5 corners and 5 safeties, Duke makes it and Tony is gone. But the Broncos looked at it regardless of position and wanted to have that past spot in the secondary taken by the best player. Tony Carter won this battle, and though you don't want him on the field extensively, the fact that he's 6th on our depth chart shows you how deep the corner position is.
3. Kapri Bibbs/Shaquill Barrett
Well, it wasn't surprising to me, but after scoring a couple of goalline touchdowns on Thursday, some out there had Bibbs pegged for CJ Anderson's spot on the roster. I don't mind pointing out to those folks what bad reasoning that is. Bibbs was the darling all offseason, but when it came down to it, he didn't produce on a high enough level to warrant a roster spot. And no, I don't care if he ran for 5 yards per carry against 3rd string defenses.
Shaquill Barrett was another one of those fringe guys. After thinking he could take our MLB position by storm, I cooled off of his hype once the games rolled around. He's a nice player, but still very raw. With our current situation at LB, the Broncos needed more experience with Steven Johnson, and coveted the potential of Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson just a little bit more. Had Lerentee McCray not been so impressive this offseason, he could have stuck as the backup SAM.
2. Duke Ihenacho
A rise and fall story for the ages. Duke exploded onto the scene last season and had Broncos Country conjuring images of Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith. As the season wore on however, the holes in his game grew larger and larger. This past offseason, the acquisition of TJ Ward and the comeback of Quinton Carter from injury made it extremely difficult for Duke to find his groove on the depth chart. In the end, he's still a young kid with some talent. Time will tell whether or not he can turn this into a positive. Make no mistake though, the Broncos were right to cut this player from the team.
It's hard to cut a guy like Big Vickerson because he played so well pre-injury last season, and gave the Broncos a 1-2 punch at the NT position. Right now, the only true NT the Broncos have on the roster is Pot Roast, though Williams and Austin have the frame to rotate there.
When I wrote my initial depth chart, the question I had for Vick is could he return from his injury physically? He hasn't looked like the same player, the burst and the explosion just isn't there. I hope Big Vick takes some more time and gets himself healthy because he can be a disruptive player when he can move.
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