ENGLEWOOD — Everything represents a first for Vic Fangio. His first head coaching job, his first training camp, and, as of Monday afternoon, his first depth chart. It featured few surprises , but hinted at the competition for the final roster sports. My quick Denver7 takes on the ordering of players:
1) QB or not QB
Drew Lock, pictured, is one of the most popular player on the Broncos. Fans love the backup quarterback. However, Lock is not the backup. Not yet anyway. He is listed third behind Joe Flacco and Kevin Hogan. Lock will need to progress with his work under center and footwork to supplant Hogan. He has plenty of time, and will receive a chunk of reps in the first few preseason games.
2) Inside Job
Linebacker Todd Davis strained his calf in the first practice. He should be ready for the season opener at Oakland, and is already riding a stationary bike. However, the Broncos need depth at this position. Alexander Johnson is listed as Davis' backup followed by former CSU standout Josh Watson. The games will be big for Johnson and Watson. At outside linebacker, Justin Hollins is listed as a backup to Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Also, Kareem Jackson is listed as the starting strong safety. He has worked there exclusively in camp, though he will mix in some time at corner this week.
3) Punt, pass, return
The Broncos lack of return game has been maddening. At a time when their offense stunk, the special teams provided no boost in yardage. As of now, River Cracraft is listed as the starting punt returner. He should return this week from a strained oblique. DaeSean Hamilton is listed second, but he's dealing with a sore hamstring. Brendan Langley and Kelvin McKnight round out the depth chart. McKnight has popped over the last few days as a receiver.
4) Oline issues
The Oline is set. Until it's not. Connor McGovern and Garett Bolles, in my opinion, need strong preseasons. McGovern has struggled with shotgun snaps, and Bolles is being pushed by Elijah Wilikinson at left tackle. McGovern's backup is Jake Brendel, not former local prep star Sam Jones, who is the second-team left guard behind rookie Dalton Risner.
5) Open and shut case
The most fierce competition for a roster spot figures to be at receiver. The top three are Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. Tim Patrick is considered the fourth. Cracraft, Juwann Winfree, Steven Dunbar Jr., Fred Brown, Nick Williams, McKnight and Trinity Benson are all in the mix for scant few spots. Versatility will be key for the fifth and potential sixth receiver.
6) Tight quarters
Rookie tight end Noah Fant is making progress, and has been a pleasant surprise with his blocking. You don't leave Iowa without learning how to move a pile, but Fant has looked good in his transition. He's listed second behind Jeff Heuerman and ahead of Troy Fumagalli, Jake Butt and Austin Fort.
7) Run for it
The running back depth chart hasn't shifted. It reads: Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, and Devontae Booker. Khalfani Muhammad and Devontae Jackson are fourth and fifth. I believe a fourth back will make it. My sleeper pick is Jackson, a West Georgia star who makes people miss.