There weren’t many surprises on the day when the roster was trimmed from 87 players to 53 outside of cutting Sua Cravens, and the biggest question marks were how the team would utilize the practice squad, injured reserve, and free agency.
I think there were some players on the Broncos preseason roster that didn’t necessarily showcase that they were NFL-ready, but flashed that they had some skills that were worthy of developing on the practice squad. I think Khalfani Muhammed, Fred Brown, Trinity Benson, Brett Rypien, and Jamal Carter all showed that they had skills and were worthy of practice squad consideration and Muhammed, Brown and Rypien were all rewarded with contracts.
As for the injury reserve, Drew Lock, Theo Riddick, and Jake Butt were all placed on IR this morning as reported by Adam Schefter. This seemingly covers the questions about what the team was planning on doing with other injured players Todd Davis, Joe Jones, and Billy Winn. The injury reserve list means that the players on this list aren’t eligible to return to the team until after Week 8, and so the players that avoid this list have a chance to return sooner and help the team.
Finally, I think it was well known that the Broncos weren’t the biggest fans of the backup QB position after Drew Lock went down, the depth they had at the offensive line and inside linebacker positions, the TE room depth after Jake Butt went down, and the punt returner position was still widely up for grabs.
To address the QB position, they cut Kevin Hogan, claimed Brandon Allen off the waiver wire, and signed Brett Rypien to the practice squad. This means when Drew Lock is healthy (after Week 8), he will be eligible to return and Brandon Allen will most likely be let go.
For the offensive line depth, the team kept center Austin Schlottmann and swing tackle Elijah Wilkinson, and claimed Corey Levin off the wire for OG/C depth. I think the preseason games showed that the offensive line depth was a serious problem, so holding onto a few of the better-performing players and getting another player off of the waiver wire was a smart move.
Linebacker depth was mainly a problem because of the injuries to Todd Davis and Joe Jones, but many thought Josh Watson from Colorado State University was set to make the roster. Instead, the Broncos kept Keishawn Bierria and claimed ex-Bronco Corey Nelson off of the waiver wire.
On the offense, the Broncos claimed tight end Andrew Beck to in exchange for placing Jake Butt on IR. They also claimed Diontae Spencer as a depth wideout and a possible candidate to challenge for the kick returner and punt returner jobs.
Personally, I thought the Denver secondary was talented and frequently the highlight of the preseason defense even late into the preseason games, so claiming corner back Devontae Harris and trading with the Patriots for cornerback Duke Dawson Jr. (a New England Patriots 2018 second-round pick) was a little bit of a surprise. Both of these players add to the depth and versatility of the secondary and give the team some more added depth at a position of strength for the roster.
Finally, the team maintained their tradition of keeping an undrafted free agent on the 53 man roster. This season, they kept two in edge rusher Malik “Dream Killer” Reed and Colorado native defensive end Mike Purcell. I think this is one of the best traditions for the Broncos and routinely pays off, especially lately with impact players Chris Harris Jr. and Phillip Lindsay being two notable names.