2017 Broncos Season, linebackers


Training Camp is in full swing, and it's time to look at the roster and try to project who makes the final 53. Today it's time to look at one of the strongest units, the linebackers.

On the Roster:
* Von Miller
* Shane Ray
* Todd Davis
* Brandon Marshall
* Shaq Barrett
* Corey Nelson
* Zaire Anderson
* Vontarrius Dora
* Quentin Gause
* Deon Hollins
* Danny Mason
* Kevin Snyder
* Ken Ekanem
* Jerrol Garcia-Williams

A Look at 2016: The Broncos' linebackers are the strength of the team, but over the past few seasons it's been a war of attrition. Last year it was at middle linebacker, where Davis and Marshall are the starters, but depth is an issue. And when they both had different bouts with injury, that stretched the defense. On the outside, the same is true. The Broncos have retained the top people, but depth continues to be a issue. Meaning injuries to crucial pieces could leave the Broncos in a precarious situation. But when your position group starts with the Super Bowl 50 MVP, Miller, you know you're going to be OK.

Changes in 2017: The biggest change is that DeMarcus Ware, who was a big part of the Broncos' pass rush and linebacking corps the past three seasons has retired. That leaves a void in leadership as well as weakened depth at the position, pushing Ray into a full-time starting role. Also gone is defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. While the plan is for not much to change, it's easy to see that being more of a wish than a reality when new coaches are involved.

Projecting The Roster: The Broncos are likely to keep at least eight here, but might end up with nine. Barrett and Ray are both injured, and there's questions about whether they will be ready on September 11. So that could leave the Broncos carrying an extra piece at the position. Miller, Ray, Barrett, Davis, and Marshall are locks for the roster. That leaves nine people fighting for three to four spots. I think Nelson, Anderson, and Dora are also likely on the roster. That leaves six players fighting for maybe one spot. And, of course, the wild card is if Kasim Edebali, who is listed at defensive end, ends up being retained as an additional outside pass rusher. I think that might be the most likely case unless one of these other linebacker prospects ends up shinning in the pre-season. If pressed right now, I think the Broncos go with nine linebackers on the final 53, with those being Miller, Ray, Davis, Marshall, Barrett, Nelson, Anderson, Dora and Edebali.

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