Denver Broncos starting lineup projection

The Broncos are looking to Emmanuel Sanders to build on his breakout 2014 season. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Projecting the starting lineup for the Denver Broncos heading into training camp.


Quarterback (Peyton Manning): Manning is 38-10 as Broncos starter with 131 touchdowns and 36 interceptions over the past three seasons.

Running back (C.J. Anderson): He ran for 648 yards over the last six regular-season games in 2014.

Receiver (Demaryius Thomas): The team's top wideout has at least 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.

Receiver (Emmanuel Sanders): His 1,404 yards in his breakout 2014 were more than his total in 2012 and '13 combined.

Tight end (Owen Daniels): He has played for Broncos coach Gary Kubiak in each of his previous nine NFL seasons.

Tight end (Virgil Green): Green has one career touchdown catch -- in the 2014 regular-season finale, from Brock Osweiler.

Left tackle (Ty Sambrailo): A rookie, he earned the promotion after Ryan Clady's season-ending injury. The Broncos like his athleticism.

Left guard (Ben Garland): The former defensive lineman has spent two years on the Broncos' practice squad after two years of active duty in the Air Force.

Center (Gino Gradkowski): He was acquired in an offseason trade and will have to hold off Matt Paradis for the job.

Right guard (Louis Vasquez): Back in his best spot, Vasquez was the only "given" of the starting offensive line throughout the offseason workouts.

Right tackle (Michael Schofield): The starter could well be Chris Clark here, but the Broncos want to get younger up front and develop the group together.


Defensive end (Derek Wolfe): Wolfe said this offseason he is just now feeling like himself after a seizure cut short his 2013 season.

Defensive end (Malik Jackson): Despite playing 52.7 percent of the snaps in 2013 and 52.3 percent in 2014, Jackson is always among the team leaders in sacks and tackles for loss.

Nose tackle (Sylvester Williams): Broncos will mix and match on a situational basis up front, but Williams should have the job in the base defense.

Outside linebacker (Von Miller): Miller said he wants to play at about 242 pounds and could put himself in the Defensive POY conversation in this new defense.

Inside linebacker (Brandon Marshall): He led the team in tackles in 2014, but questions remain about Marshall's readiness after he had offseason foot surgery.

Inside linebacker (Danny Trevathan): Durability is now a question mark for Trevathan after three injuries to his left leg in 2014, the third resulting in surgery to replace a kneecap.

Outside linebacker (DeMarcus Ware): Ware should flourish -- again -- in a Wade Phillips defense, but Broncos will use rookie Shane Ray in this spot some.

Cornerback (Chris Harris Jr.): He is one of the elite at his position and can match up on the opponent's top player both outside and in the slot.

Cornerback (Aqib Talib): Someday this will be Bradley Roby's spot, but the Broncos like Talib's aggressiveness and will play plenty of man coverage.

Safety (T.J. Ward): Ward earned a Pro Bowl spot in 2014, and he showed himself to be a quick fit in Phillips' defense.

Safety (Darian Stewart): As the only projected defensive starter not with the team last season, the Broncos see Stewart as a willing tackler in the run game who can also fill coverage needs.


Kicker (Connor Barth): Barth made 15-of-16 field goals last season after the Broncos signed him in November.

Kickoff (Karl Schmitz): The Broncos don't want to keep an extra kicker, but nobody showed in offseason workouts they can handle two of the jobs.

Punter (Britton Colquitt): Colquitt doesn't kick off and did not play up to his usual standards in 2014. He has a big cap number and could be on the bubble if Schmitz settles down and has a quality preseason as a punter.

Long snapper (Aaron Brewer): He made the team as an undrafted rookie in 2012 and is simply one of the most consistent in the league.

Returners (Omar Bolden, Jordan Norwood): Bolden is expected to handle kickoff returns, and Norwood is an educated guess at what is decidedly a work in progress at punt returner.