2014 Depth Chart: Denver Broncos

A look at the depth and quality of each position on the roster for the 2014 Denver Broncos.

| 3 years ago

2014 Depth Chart: Denver Broncos

2014 depth update DEN

[Chart last updated: 7/8/14]


•  There’s no question this is a quality team. While the Super Bowl wasn’t pretty, it’s not easy to compete with a team as good as Seattle with three of your top players injured; all of Von Miller, Ryan Clady and Chris Harris Jr. would have contributed to making the game a much closer affair. What’s impressive is since then they’ve only got better. Even if you only call Aqib Talib for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie a wash there’s no way you can view the pick-ups of Demarcus Ware and T.J. Ward as other than significant upgrades. Once again they will be the team to beat in the AFC.

•  Derek Wolfe is the only player we have in the starting line-up marked as less than average (unless you think Bradley Roby won’t make an immediate impact) and I’m constantly reminded by fans we shouldn’t be as harsh on him because his key role isn’t to get pressure on the quarterback. I do understand that, but if that’s so (and I do believe it is) then he has to be a very good run defender and even that slipped this year (-2.4 grade). What made it worse was when Malik Jackson was asked to take up the slack after Wolfe’s Week 12 injury he showed the art of the possible, grading well against the run and, although his pass rush productivity dropped, still doing reasonably well as a rusher.

•  I’m maybe being a little generous seeing Nate Irving as an “average” starting middle linebacker. He only played there a few snaps in his rookie year so the grade above is for how he played in relief of Von Miller on the strong-side last year and that doesn’t always translate. It’s not even as if the Broncos are happy with the situation trying and failing in free agency to replace him and then also coming up short in an attempt to get C.J. Mosley. I still can’t help but remember, though, when he was asked to take more snaps, he actually played better – and that’s why the grade is maybe higher than it should be.

Roster Battles

The mark of a good group is often the lack of obvious position battles and that’s definitely the case here. In the areas where there could be some competition it’s likely both of the key competitors will get snaps and the tag starter becomes a little irrelevant. In this category I mentioned Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson earlier and could also add Virgil Green and Joel Dreessen in the role of blocking tight end. Which simply leaves:

1.  Right Cornerback in Nickel

Last year Denver drafted Kayvon Webster in the third round and for a while all looked great. Up until Week 12 he played 373 snaps and was actually grading out overall with a small positive (+3.6). However, the next three weeks, he fell to pieces logging a combined -7.5 and only seeing 12 more snaps during the run in to the Super Bowl.

Now while Chris Harris Jr. (when healthy) and Aqib Talib will play in base, when Harris moves to the slot in nickel who will play outside? Given Tony Carter’s awful season (and Super Bowl) it looks likely they may need first-rounder Bradley Roby to step straight in. Carter played well in 2012, so I think it’s too early to write him off completely, but trust will be in short supply.


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| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • Rudy Fierro

    I’d personally have Duke Ihenacho in the yellow, and Omar Bolden in the orage with a hint of red. I can’t wait to see what Quanterus Smith can do.

    • KittyTheBear

      You’ll probably get that opportunity this year given the inconsistent health of Miller and Ware. I’d also have Ware as a lighter green at this point, but maybe he can get healthy and prove me wrong.

      • Rudy Fierro

        I was actually expecting Ware at the lighter green after seeing Jared Allen in yellow and Mario Williams in light green. I was also curious to see if they’d have Clady in the blue, but due to the injuries it’s hard to ague with the dark green.

  • bobrulz

    Apparently Denver’s backup QBs are so irrelevant that they don’t even exist!

  • Thomas Bell

    Bolden, Carter, Webster and Ihenacho in orange really stand out. Clearly the secondary was the weakest unit on this team — makes the Roby pick look pretty smart. The trenches look surprisingly strong, given that Clady could be blue if it wasn’t for the injury, and that Vickerson was having a better year than pot roast when he went down.


    Camp battle will definitely be between Latimer, Sanders, and Caldwell to replace Decker.

    • Brian Bigger

      I would be surprised if there is a battle at all. I think they expect Sanders to start unless he really falls off. Will be an interesting battle for the 4th wr.

      • bobrulz

        I think Latimer will be the 4th receiver out of camp. Andre Caldwell just isn’t very good. The only advantage he has over Latimer is familiarity with the system.

  • AndrewR4488

    Clady isn’t elite?

    • MeOMy

      He is coming off an injury… Other wise I would agree he should be elite.

  • bobrulz

    Amazing that although there’s “only” 2 elite players, players like Ryan Clady, Chris Harris, and Demaryius Thomas are close to elite (and could easily be so, depending on your criteria), and DeMarcus Ware is a recently elite player.

    • chillermonster

      Yeah, I thought for sure that Demaryius would get some elite love.

    • MeOMy

      Basically only 2 players at any given position are considered elite. I disagree with the formula for picking elite players. Fitzgerald and DT should both be considered elite. I would take either one of them over Marshall who got the 2nd “elite” slot.

      • bobrulz

        Fitzgerald is good, sure, but he’s clearly on the decline at this point. I know he hasn’t exactly played with the best QBs, but he’s had just 1,700 receiving yards in the last 2 seasons. Not elite material.

        Brandon Marshall is an excellent all-around receiver and as a Denver fan I actually somewhat miss him. He also seems to have matured quite a bit.

        • DragonPie

          He is very good, but I wouldn’t trade him for DT.

  • Rick S.

    Almost half (46.4%) of Denver’s starters consist of high quality or elite starters. Any team where Derek Wolfe is the worst projected starter is going to be really good (as long as they stay healthy). Additionally, a few of those dark green players (D Thomas, Vasquez, Clady, Harris) are close to being elite level players,

    Last year Denver played in the SuperBowl with 3 of their best players on IR. In 2014 they can not count on Peyton to carry them as much as he did, or for the AFC to be as down as it was in 2013. Denver is razor thin in the secondary and I would not be surprised to see them add players cut from other teams. They do not have quality depth, even though I think Webster should be average, as broke his hand mid-season and wasn’t the same player after the injury despite playing through it.

  • siouxinmn

    Derek Wolfe should have an asterisk next to him as his negative grade came at the expense of playing injured- he shouldn’t have been out there. I see Ball, Green, Sanders, Williams and Moore increasing their stock as far as this article relates.

  • Thomas Bell

    This is what’s commonly known as an embarrassment of riches. 13 players in dark green or blue..vs. NE and IND BLT who average around 6-8. What jumps out at me is that Talib, who this site has been really hard on — didn’t make the top 100, and was 37th at his position or something, barely grading out above 0 if I recall. How did y’all score him at high quality? Also, there is plenty of info on Bolden: he’s orange. Even our LS is elite….dang, it’s just not fair. Finally, been a long time since a Denver team was this strong in the OG and DT positions — ready for trench warfare in the NFC West!

  • Ben

    Why is Vasquez not elite? (Assuming each position has a pre-detirmined # of elite players)

  • David

    The Update indicates that Montee Ball should be Good Starter now rather than Average. That seems to not have been updated on the chart.

  • twnick2014

    I know that Chris Harris, Ryan Clady, and Von Miller were all big losses for Denver, but saying that the three players would have made what was a clear domination/beatdown (as the score and tape showed) a competitive ballgame downplays the Seahawks’ performance, and lets Manning off the hook.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    DT Marvin Austin: Based on camp buzz and the first preseason game, it’s pretty clear that his back injury is no longer bother him and he’s playing well. Time to upgrade him to orange, if not yellow. (By the end of the year, I bet he grades positive)

  • broncos baby

    Broncos 2015 champions mark my words

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Time to start thinking of Emmanuel Sanders as at least a “good starter” as a Bronco