Examining the Denver Broncos' roster:
The Broncos carried three here last season and thought enough of Dysert to keep him despite a long list of injuries on defense that eventually saw five starters on injured reserve. It could be more difficult to use that third spot on Dysert again. The Broncos would like to, and Dysert's 7-of-8 passing for 103 yards in Saturday's scrimmage certainly indicates his progress. But it might be a luxury they can’t afford this time around, especially if they want a return specialist.
Running backs (4)
The Broncos kept five at this spot as recently as 2012, but this position still shapes up to be a quality battle. When minicamp closed in June and Anderson weighed 234 pounds, his chances of making this roster were slim. He had been sluggish in offseason workouts but showed up to training camp almost 20 pounds lighter and has worked his way back into the conversation. There are still four preseason games to play, but Thompson leads the crop of rookie backs.
The Broncos have two undrafted rookies at this spot who have turned some heads already -- Isaiah Burse as a returner and Bennie Fowler at wideout -- but Latimer will be the youngster on the depth chart barring an unexpected injury. Latimer and Caldwell give the Broncos some insurance against any potential concussion issues for Welker. Latimer figures to get plenty of quality snaps. The Broncos have kept five here for the past three seasons, although last year's five included returner Trindon Holliday.
Tight ends (3)
The Broncos kept four last season -- they kept three in 2011 and three in 2012 -- but Joel Dreessen's knee troubles and his release just before camp opened means three is still the most likely number.
Offensive line (9)
The Broncos have kept nine players at this position for the opening-week roster in all three previous seasons of the John Fox/John Elway regime, but with all of the shuffling in the search for swing players, they may feel the urge to add one here just in case. But the starting group up front still looks to be Clady, Franklin, Ramirez, Vasquez and Clark. Justice got a long look at right tackle in offseason workouts but is still working with the second team, and rookie Schofield should get a shot there as well but has worked mostly with the third team. Perhaps Ryan Miller or Ben Garland could earn the extra (10th) spot.
Defensive line (9)
The Broncos kept 10 here in 2011, kept nine in 2012 and had eight on the opening-night roster last season. They could trim to eight again if they have a glaring need elsewhere, but Vickerson and Smith are both coming back from stints on injured reserve.
There is room here for a wild card, including a late roster pickup, to make the depth chart. McCray likely would have made it as an undrafted rookie last season had he not been injured in the preseason. As it stands now, Marshall looks to have the lead for the final spot, but undrafted rookie Shaquil Barrett has turned some heads, even working with the second team in this past weekend's scrimmage.
Last season, the Broncos kept seven cornerbacks on the opening-night roster, including the injured Champ Bailey, but this time around Carter will enter camp squarely on the bubble, especially if one of the younger corners with some additional size, like rookie Louis Young, shows promise and some special-teams chops. But the top four spots are solidly in place, and the Broncos can sport the four-cornerback look they’d like to in the dime.
If Carter’s knee holds up in camp as it has through the team’s offseason workouts, he should be among the final group. Duke Ihenacho made the roster last season but will have a tougher road this time around. Bolden’s ability to be a swing player at corner and safety, as well as having some potential as a returner, gives him the edge as well.
The only question here is whether a returner such as Burse or a player to be named later can show enough pop to lure the Broncos into keeping a return specialist.