ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos must cut their roster to 75 by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and to 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday. Here’s a final 53-man roster projection:
All that’s missing is the official thumbs-up from coach Gary Kubiak, but barring a late Shanahan-names-Griese-over-Brister stunner, Siemian appeared to win the job cleanly. The question will be if the Broncos believe Lynch can be the No. 2. That the Broncos don’t have to surrender a draft pick to the Eagles if Sanchez is not on the roster is significant. The Broncos could also bring in another veteran to be the just-in-case No. 3 quarterback, but that would likely cost a spot elsewhere, such as running back.
In what was likely too little too late, Hillman appeared on special teams more as the preseason progressed and looked his best running the ball against the Los Angeles Rams' reserves on Saturday night. But Booker is too good of a prospect, Thompson plays two positions (running back and fullback) in addition to special teams, and Bibbs has been more productive on special teams.
Fullback (1): Andy Janovich
Janovich has spent the preseason as the only rookie listed as a starter on the team’s depth chart. The Broncos have shown plenty of two-back sets in the preseason, so Janovich figures to be plenty busy. Plus, he’s already a core player on special teams.
Addison and Raymond are good prospects in the return game, but they likely didn’t show quite enough to make the roster. The Broncos could easily keep just five receivers if they believe they need the roster spot elsewhere, such as tight end. But if they keep Taylor, they have plenty of size to create some matchup problems.
After battling an ankle injury early in training camp, Phillips showed himself to be a reliable veteran who is a willing and able blocker in the two-tight end sets. There is a possibility that the Broncos keep an additional player here for a few weeks in the regular season, if they don’t believe Heuerman will be recovered from hamstring troubles.
Offensive line (9): Russell Okung, Ty Sambrailo, Matt Paradis, Max Garcia, Donald Stephenson, Michael Schofield, Connor McGovern, Darrion Weems, Robert Myers Jr (cut: James Ferentz, Mathu Gibson, Dillon Day, Aaron Neary, Lars Hanson, Justin Murray, Cameron Jefferson, Kyle Roberts)
With three interior linemen injured -- Weems (concussion), Sambrailo (elbow) and Ferentz (knee) -- the Broncos will look at keeping nine and might have to consider a 10th, depending on the timetable for Weems' return.
The Broncos could look to keep seven if they have some concerns about their depth. Melton or Peko, an undrafted rookie who got their attention, could squeeze into the final cuts.
Linebackers (9): Von Miller, Brandon Marshall, DeMarcus Ware, Todd Davis, Corey Nelson, Shaquil Barrett, Shane Ray, Dekoda Watson, Zaire Anderson (cut: Kyle Kragen, Dwayne Norman, Frank Shannon, Vontarrius Dora, Sadat Sulleyman)
If the Broncos keep six defensive linemen instead of seven, here is where the extra spot will go. The Broncos are crowded at linebacker with players who performed throughout the preseason, including Watson and Anderson. It’s possible that only one of the two, Watson or Anderson, makes it, but it would be most unkind to cut the other.
Defensive backs (10): Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart, Bradley Roby, Kayvon Webster, Lorenzo Doss, Taurean Nixon, Justin Simmons, Will Parks (cut: Shiloh Keo, Antonio Glover, B.J. Lowery, Ryan Murphy, John Tidwell, Brandian Ross)
The Broncos aren’t afraid to play young players, and there might be nothing more important for a team to sustain success than identifying young players who fit, training those players and being unafraid to put them in the lineup. Look at quarterback, and look where the two backup safeties will be rookies in what just might be the league’s best secondary.
Colquitt had a quality preseason, but he makes too much money for a team that is usually in search of some salary-cap room, and Dixon was a seventh-round draft pick. Dixon got more comfortable as a holder on kicks as camp wore on, and that figures to tip the scale his way.