AFC West: Keith Brookings

Denver Broncos cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
8:40
PM ET
Click here for the complete list of Denver Broncos' roster moves.

Most significant move: The Broncos kept newly signed veterans, linebacker Keith Brooking and safety Jim Leonhard. They have both been dealing with injuries. Both should fill rotational roles as well as offer leadership. It is a bit surprising Denver cut veteran cornerback Drayton Florence. The Broncos beat several teams to sign Florence this year. In the end, the Broncos liked their young cornerbacks such as Chris Harris, Tony Carter and rookie Omar Bolden. Watch for San Diego to make a full-court press to sign Florence. The team tried to sign the former Charger before Denver signed him and it needs a cornerback.

Onward and upward: Two interesting players who were kept in Denver were running back Knowshon Moreno and tight end Julius Thomas. Moreno, a first-round pick in 2009, had a decent preseason after coming back from an ACL. There was speculation he could be traded. But Moreno will be given a chance to help Denver off the bench. Thomas, a fourth-round pick last year, was considered on the bubble. But the former college basketball player turned NFL player will get more time to develop. The Broncos will likely try to sign Ben Garland to the practice squad. The defensive tackle from Air Force has a lot of promise and the team loves his spirit. I could potentially see quarterback Adam Weber being put on the practice squad again. Denver likes him. He is not going to leapfrog backup Caleb Hanie or No. 3 quarterback, second-round pick Brock Osweiler, but Denver may want him to stick around.

What’s next: The Broncos will likely look for linebackers. They are young and thin there, especially on the outside with D.J. Williams facing, at least, a six-game NFL suspension. Denver will likely look for experienced veterans, who could, at least, log some situational time on defense. Denver did keep undrafted rookie Steven Johnson. He was a preseason star and he should help on special teams, so the need for more linebacker help is still necessary. I could see Denver being interested in defensive players regardless of the position if they are the right fit and I think it can look for help on the offensive line as well. Expect Denver to make, at least, a couple of moves in the next couple of days.
Keith Brooking would like to end his NFL career the way he started it -- in the Super Bowl.

This time, though, he’s on John Elway’s side instead of against him. Making a run at the Super Bowl was one of the reasons the 15-season veteran said he signed with the Broncos. Brookings was a rookie with Atlanta in 1998 when Elway quarterbacked Denver to a win over the Falcons in the Super Bowl. Elway is now the leader of the Broncos and he made the decision to sign Brookings.

“That’s the first thing I mentioned to Elway,” Brookings said Monday. “That’s the first time I’ve seen him since then pretty close up. I mentioned that to him first thing today, I was like ‘By the way I haven’t forgotten '98.'"

Denver hopes Brookings can help them get to the same point. Brookings, 37, will provide reserve help at middle and weakside linebacker. I think this signing is solid.

Brooking is a tremendous leader in the mold of recently retired safety Brian Dawkins, so he will provide value. He can spell the starter and help in some situations. He is good insurance for the six-game suspension of weakside linebacker D.J. Williams to start the season.

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