The Broncos just recently released a look at the first depth chart of the 2012 season. Lot’s of things don’t come as a surprised, but some do. Take into mind as well, the Broncos haven’t even played their first game. This is all based so far on training camp and on the team scrimmage as well. Manning is obviously at the helm, with Willis McGehee running the ball for the team. They will be protected up front by Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper, and Orlando Franklin.
Guys that will be catching passes from Manning will be Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and TE Joel Dresseen.
Some surprises I see with this offense thus far is the fact that Knownshon Moreno is running fourth team with the offense. I fully expected him not to make the team this season, and was shocked to hear about him getting some reps early on in camp with the second team.
Staying at the running back position, Lance Ball is running second team behind McGehee, and rookie Ronnie Hillman is third team. Hillman maybe third, and it could be that way going into the season, but I can see the rookie getting more touches early and often over Lance Ball. Ball runs more like McGehee, so I am surprised to see him ahead of Hillman when the team will be looking for a change of pace out of the backfield. One issue that has been holding Hillman back is recent injury problems during camp.
The offensive line is intact like I expect it to be, but there at the RT position I believe there could be a battle. Franklin was brought in because of his size and his run blocking skills. Well, this offense has changed dramtically since he was draft, different philosophies, QB’s, etc. Having said that, Ryan Harris, who is in his second stint with the team should give the kid a serious push for the starting job. Harris is a more polished player and if the coaches can overlook the fact that he isn’t as big as Franklin, he might take the job from the kid.
At backup QB, Caleb Hanie is running second team, ahead of rookie Brock Osweiler.
According to the Denver Post, Hanie did not have a good showing in the team scrimmage held at Sports Authority Field from Mile High. Hanie apparently did not have a great showing and heard some boo’s from a record crowd of over 41,000 fans. As Head Coach John Fox points out, it’s 2A, B and C” for the second spot. Hanie will be the 2nd string going into the game against the Bears, and Osweiler should get some reps with the second team as well. I expect the two to flip-flop no later that the second pre-season game.
On Defense, Justin Hunter, Elvis Dumervil, Justin Bannan and Ty Warren anchor the line. Surprising is that Robert Ayers is lining up behind Hunter. Hunter apparently is having a great camp. I can see Ayers losing his job and being one of the last guys they keep on the roster to put on the line. Ayers is a good DE against the run, but still struggles to get pressure in the pass-rush department. Hunter has good speed and energy of the edge, something that Ayers lacks. DL Derek Wolfe is moving all around the line. He was drafted to play DT, but the Broncos are seeing something in this kid and are looking for creative ways to get him on the field, including putting him at DE to help with the pass-rush.
At LB, The Broncos have Von Miller, Joe Mays and D.J. Williams. Recently, Williams has started practicing with the first team Defense. The Broncos have been practicing this camp without Williams, but coming off the heels of the scrimmage, the team goes out and Keith Brooking. The team must not feel comfortable enough to start Wesley Woodyard or anyone else, this signing is definitely a insurance policy for the team if things don’t improve at WLB.
The secondary will feature Tracy Porter, Champ Bailey, Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore. Fortunately for Moor, there was no competition coming into camp after they let go of Renaldo Hill. The team just brought in free agent Jim Leonhard. As soon as he was signed, he was put on the PUP list (Physically Unable to Preform). He is still recovering from a fractured tibia he suffered late in the 2011 season. If he can get on the field in the next couple weeks, the FS position will be a battle going into the regular season. Mike Adams had been running with the first team throughout minicamps and splitting time with Carter in camp. Carter has recently just went arthroscopic knee surgery. Carter maybe listed ahead of Adams, but I expect Adams to be the starter going into the season and with Carter making a push for his spot at SS.
This is just the first depth chart, we will see this chart change a handful of times before the regular season gets under way. Having said that, where some players are listed after the first chart, there could be some name players that Bronco fans would recognize that won’t be here a month from now.
-Joshua Ryan Reising