As the first game of the preseason against the Seattle Seahawks approaches, the Denver Broncos have released their first depth chart of the 2014 preseason and it contains little in the way of surprises.
The Broncos top costless agent signees appear at the top of the depth charts at their positions. Emmanuel Sanders tops 2014 second round draft pick Cody Latimer at wide receiver, Aqib Talib is ahead of 2014 first round draft pick Bradley Roby at left cornerback, DeMarcus Ware is ahead of last year's fifth round pick Quanterus Smith at right defensive end and T.J. Ward leads last year's surprise at strong safety Duke Ihenacho.
Injuries haven't kept Chris Harris Jr., Rahim Moore, and Derek Wolfe from reclaiming their starting spots. Despite missing time last season with injuries, all three are expected to be healthy and ready to go as the season gets underway.
Harris, who underwent ACL surgery earlier this year, was taken off the player unable to perform (PUP) list at the start of training camp. He is once again listed as the starter at right cornerback ahead of 2013 third round pick Kayvon Webster. Harris will be teamed at corner with Talib while Bradley Roby comes in for nickel packages. Webster will be available when the defense shifts to the dime.
Moore nearly lost his life after suffering lateral compartment syndrome following the Week 10 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Moore has recovered fully and is once again starting at costless safety, ahead of Quinton Carter.
Wolfe suffered a neck injury in last year's preseason game against the Seahawks that at first glance looked career threatening. He recovered from that injury but ended up developing seizure-like symptoms in Week 10 that cost him the rest of the season. Wolfe has been cleared to play and is once again the starter at left defensive end over Malik Jackson.
Other injury returns include Ryan Clady coming back to protect Peyton Manning's blind side at left tackle following his lisfranc injury in Week 2 against the New York Giants and Von Miller at strong side linebacker after tearing his ACL in Week 16 against the Houston Texans.
Kevin Vickerson has not regained his starting spot at defensive tackle after suffering a dislocated hip in Week 12 that cost him the rest of 2013. Sylvester Williams, last year's first round draft pick, took over for Vickerson following his injury and has kept the starting position. Vickerson is effective at stuffing the run and will be in the rotation at defensive tackle even if he doesn't regain his starting spot.
Something of a surprise is Virgil Green being listed as the second string tight end ahead of Jacob Tamme. Tamme played with Manning in Indianapolis from 2008-2010 and is well versed in the offense and what is expected of him by the quarterback. Tamme appeared in all 16 games last season, catching 20 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown while Green made just nine receptions for 45 yards in 16 games. It will be interesting to see if this is just temporary or if the Broncos believe that Green offers much more than Tamme at this point in his career.
The Broncos take their depth chart into game action for the first time on Thursday as the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks come to town. Kickoff at Sports Authority Field at Mile High is scheduled for 7:00 PM MDT.
|WR||Demaryius Thomas||Andre Caldwell||Greg Wilson||Bennie Fowler|
|LT||Ryan Clady||Winston Justice||Paul Cornick|
|LG||Orlando Franklin||Ben Garland|
|C||Manny Ramirez||Will Montgomery||Matt Paradis|
|RG||Louis Vasquez||Vinston Painter||Ryan Miller|
|RT||Chris Clark||Michael Schofield|
|TE||Julius Thomas||Virgil Green||Jacob Tamme||Jameson Konz|
|Gerrell Robinson||Cameron Morrah|
|WR||Emmanuel Sanders||Cody Latimer||Nathan Palmer||Greg Hardin|
|WR||Wes Welker||Jordan Norwood||Isaiah Burse|
|QB||Peyton Manning||Brock Osweiler||Zac Dysert||Bryn Renner|
|RB||Montee Ball||Ronnie Hillman||C.J. Anderson||Juwan Thompson|
|Kapri Bibbs||Brennan Clay||Jerodis Williams|
|LDE||Derek Wolfe||Malik Jackson||Will Pericak||Greg Latta|
|DT||Sylvester Williams||Kevin Vickerson||Mitch Unrein||Cody Larsen|
|NT||Terrance Knighton||Marvin Austin||Sione Fua|
|RDE||DeMarcus Ware||Quanteras Smith||Kenny Anunike||Hall Davis|
|SLB||Von Miller||Lerentee McCray||Shaquil Barrett||Jerrell Harris|
|MLB||Nate Irving||Lamin Barrow||Steven Johnson||L.J. Fort|
|WLB||Danny Trevathan||Brandon Marshall||Jamar Chaney||Corey Nelson|
|LCB||Aqib Talib||Bradley Roby||Tony Carter||Louis Young|
|RCB||Chris Harris JR.||Kayvon Webster||Omar Bolden||Jerome Murphy|
|SS||T.J. Ward||Duke Ihenacho||John Boyett|
|FS||Rahim Moore||Quinton Carter||David Bruton||Charles Mitchell|
|PK||Matt Prater||Mitch Ewald|
|PR||Wes Welker||Jordan Norwood||Isaiah Burse|
|KR||Andre Caldwell||Omar Bolden|