View Full Version : Final Cuts Coming For Broncos

08-30-2007, 08:42 AM
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By Bill Williamson
Denver Post Staff Writer

Selvin Young, an undrafted rookie running back from Texas, has impressed the Broncos in the preseason. Against the Browns last week, he carried 17 times for 91 yards and one TD. (AP / Jack Dempsey)With virtually all of the Broncos' starters sitting out the final preseason game against Arizona, many of the players working tonight likely will be residing elsewhere in a matter of days.

But for some, tonight will determine whether they will be working in the NFL or become known in league circles as "guys on the street."

"This is a big week for a lot of players," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "The fourth preseason game is always big for a lot of guys."

Here is a position-by-position breakdown examining who is in and who may be on the way out, with the roster set to be cut to 53 players on Saturday:

Quarterbacks: Jay Cutler and backup Patrick Ramsey will clearly make the team.

Third- string quarterback Darrell Hackney is a likely candidate for the practice squad, but fourth-string quarterback Preston Parsons may have trouble keeping his status as a practice-squad player.

Running backs: This is an intriguing group. The Broncos want to keep five running backs but may feel forced to keep six.

The certain keepers are Travis Henry, Mike Bell and Cecil Sapp (who can switch between fullback and tailback).

The Broncos signed Paul Smith for special teams consideration. Fullback Kyle Johnson also is a special teams standout and has played with the first team, even catching a touchdown pass from Cutler last Saturday against Cleveland.

The Broncos also like undrafted rookie Selvin Young and second-year player Andre Hall, whose chances of making the team are hurt because he has been injured recently. Young's future may hinge on his performance tonight.

"I know there is a lot of talent here," Young said. "I know I still have work to do."

Wide receivers: Javon Walker, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokley are entrenched as the team's top three receivers.

Second-year players Domenik Hixon and Brian Clark also should be safe. Rod Smith will start the season on the physically unable to perform list because of a hip problem, and he will be evaluated again in October.

Returner and receiver Quincy Morgan is on the bubble. Because of logjams at tight end and on the defensive line, the team will keep only five receivers.

Tight ends: If the Broncos keep a combined total of 10 running backs and receivers, it may be because they will keep five tight ends, including veteran long snapper Mike Leach.

Obviously, starter Daniel Graham and pass catcher Tony Scheffler will be on the roster. Nate Jackson has been one of the standouts of camp and preseason. He has caught everything that has come his way and the Broncos have confidence in him. Jackson's presence could be a reason the Broncos keep only five receivers.

The team also likes the experience and blocking ability of Stephen Alexander. He may be a bubble player, but the veteran would be hard to let go.

Offensive linemen: Behind the starting five, the Broncos usually keep only two or three backups. They probably will keep three, but could keep four this season. Chris Kuper is the top backup and the team loves rookie Ryan Harris, who is expected to be back in two to four weeks after minor back surgery. If there are any setbacks, Harris could be put on injured reserve.

Chris Myers will make the roster and is working with the first team at left guard because concussion problems have sidelined Ben Hamilton. That leaves Adam Meadows and Greg Eslinger looking to fill the final spot or two on the line. Meadows has been injured and Eslinger could lose out because Hamilton and Myers can play center if Tom Nalen were to be injured.

Defensive linemen: The Broncos could keep 10 players here. After the starters, rookies Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder and Marcus Thomas will fill roles. Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who is in the rotation, will be on the roster. The team also likes versatile Alvin McKinley and second-year tackle Antwon Burton.

Kenny Peterson likely has a role, but he will be suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league's steroid policy.

"We like what we have on the line," Broncos defensive boss Jim Bates said. "We have a lot of numbers there."

Linebackers: The Broncos likely will keep six linebackers.

The top backup choices behind D.J. Williams, Ian Gold and Nate Webster are D.D. Lewis, Louis Green and Wesley Mallard. All three are solid players on special teams.

Defensive backs: The Broncos may keep only eight in the secondary, despite sometimes having kept 10. Behind the starters, the sure keepers are cornerback Domonique Foxworth and safeties Hamza Abdullah and Curome Cox. They are three valuable backups who will get playing time behind a strong starting four. The other top candidates to make the roster are cornerbacks Jeff Shoate and Karl Paymah. Shoate could emerge after a strong summer. The team also likes safety Steve Cargile, who can play linebacker if needed.

Specialists: With the Tuesday release of Paul Ernster, it is certain the Broncos will go with only two kickers: Todd Sauerbrun, who will punt and handle kickoffs, and Jason Elam.


08-30-2007, 09:15 AM
I didn't realize the final pre-season game was tonght until reading this article. I was wondering why the game day thread was postd so 'early'. lol

08-30-2007, 09:44 AM
That was a pretty good summary of what I think will happen. I think there's a possibility that Cecil Sapp gets cut, though. Besides that, it was pretty spot on.