2016 Broncos Season — Position Battles, Pt. 2


It's June and training camp is right around the corner. Now's the right time to take a look at the looming roster battles. On the offensive side, there's a lot of uncertainty. On the defensive side, the core of the No. 1 defense is back and it's a matter of how role players will step up to fill the void.

Defensive End:
Contenders: DeMarcus Ware, Jared Crick and Kenny Anunike
Situation: Malik Jackson was an incredible force on the defensive line for the Broncos last season, but now he's in Jacksonville. Derek Wolfe is back on one end and Sylvester Williams is back to man the middle. But what about the other defensive end? Anunike is a player the Broncos like that was hurt last year. Crick came over from the Texans, where he played opposite J.J. Watt last year. But to me the most intriguing possibility is Ware. He played outside linebacker last year, and that's probably his most natural position. But if the Broncos move him up, it could allow him, Von Miller, and possibly Shane Ray to be on the field at the same time.
Prediction: I think it will be some kind of combination. My guess is Crick gets the first shot, but I like the possibility of Ware slotting there in some formations.

Linebacker:
Contenders: Todd Davis, Zaire Anderson, and Corey Nelson
Situation: Danny Trevathan was the other big loss for the Broncos' defense. Miller and Ware will return on the outside — with Ray and Shaq Barrett behind them — and Brandon Marshall is back at one inside spot. But who takes the other? The Broncos have three role players who will vie for the position.
Prediction: I think it goes to Davis. The Broncos have a great track record of losing star inside linebackers and replacing them with the next man up. I think that happens here with Davis, who Wade Phillips has praised effusively so far this off season.

Secondary Depth:
Contenders: Lorenzo Doss, Taurian Nixon, Kayvon Webster, Will Parks, Shiloh Keo, and Brandian Ross
Situation: The Broncos' top five pass defenders are all back. Chris Harris, Jr. and Aqib Taleb are back at starting corners, with Bradley Roby at the nickel. And TJ Ward and Darian Stewart are back at safety. But the Broncos were dealt a blow when Omar Bolden and David Bruton, two key role players, left in free agency. The question is with young player steps up to take their place.
Prediction: I think Webster plays a key role on special teams and Keo, who played a lot at the end of the year, is the third safety.

Punter:
Contenders: Britton Colquitt and Riley Dixon
Situation: Colquitt is a veteran and a highly paid punter. Dixon is a rookie that the Broncos drafted in the seventh round.
Prediction: The Broncos are cash strapped and Colquitt has been average at best since signing his long-term deal. I think Dixon wins the job in camp.

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