Denver Broncos' projected roster


Examining the Denver Broncos' roster:

Quarterbacks (2)

The Broncos carried three here last season and thought enough of Zac Dysert to keep him despite a long list of injuries on defense that eventually saw five starters on injured reserve. Dysert played well in the preseason, but it continues to look like two is going to be the number here with Dysert set to get a spot on the practice squad.

Running backs (4)

The Broncos kept five at this spot as recently as 2012, but with tight end Virgil Green's ability to play in a fullback role, four is the most logical total. Thompson continues to show he's a potential keeper and even lined up at fullback in the preseason finale. Kapri Bibbs closed strong with two touchdowns against the Cowboys, but he's more likely to be a practice squad guy.

Receivers (5)

Undrafted rookie Isaiah Burse tried to show he could make some impact on offense in the preseason finale with 66 yards receiving, but if the Broncos keep him, and there is a chance he did just enough to force that decision, it would be as returner. Welker, who suffered his third concussion since Nov. 17 against the Texans, did run some routes, catching passes, in pre-game warm-ups Saturday night.

Tight ends (3)

The Broncos kept four last season -- they kept three in 2011 and three in 2012 -- but keeping three, with perhaps another on the practice squad continues to be the most likely scenario as nothing that happened in the preseason changed that.

Offensive line (10)

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 so this is where a difficult decision awaits if they don't elect to keep 10. Their rotations in the preseason suggest, however, 10 just might be the number this time around and this is likely where the third quarterback spot goes. Garland has done enough to earn a spot, and Cornick continues to work as Clady's backup at left tackle.

Defensive line (8)

The Broncos kept eight on the initial roster here last season and it's shaping up to be that way again. If that's how it plays out after the team's meetings on Friday, Kevin Vickerson could be the off man out. Unrein played some defensive end in some run-down situations in the last two preseason games and showed plenty of up-field quickness overall.

Linebackers (7)

Trevathan won't be back in the lineup until after the Week 4 bye at best so Marshall is going to play for him for at least the first three games of the regular season, and he showed in the preseason win over the 49ers he's up to the challenge. Miller is scheduled to be in the lineup Sept. 7 and Johnson closed strong to make his case in the preseason finale.

Cornerbacks (6)

Last season, the Broncos kept seven cornerbacks on the opening-night roster, including the injured Champ Bailey, but it's now looking like six here with Bolden lining up at corner much of the time. Bolden is also decidedly in the mix as the team's kickoff returner. Chris Harris Jr. is still on track to play in the regular-season opener.

Safeties (5)

Watch the rotations in practice as well as the preseason games, and Ihenacho figures into the equation here as the fifth safety, which would put the Broncos at 11 defensive backs -- what they kept last season -- but that would likely cause them to keep one fewer defensive lineman. In this scenario it means Ihenacho's special teams work is enough to get him the spot, a spot that came from the defensive line.

Specialists (3)

McManus missed two 50-plus yards attempts in the preseason finale, but had been with the team just for a day. He showed a powerful leg and is the most likely replacement for Matt Prater, who is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.