Assessing Broncos' post-draft depth chart: How long until Bo Nix is QB1? (2024)

The two biggest questions that have lingered over the Broncos since late December have been answered. Yes, Denver has added a quarterback. His name is Bo Nix, and Broncos fans hope he’ll eventually prove to be an elusive solution to a problem that has wrapped its tentacles around the organization for the past two years, stalling its progress.


But Nix’s arrival is only the first step.

“I don’t want to just be a draft pick,” he said. “I want to be able to show my improvements and show that I can do what (coach Sean Payton) picked me to do, and that’s go out there and win games or help win games or do whatever I can to put this team in a better situation.”

Introducing … the 2024 #BroncosDraft class!

— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 28, 2024

Nix, whenever he does take the starting quarterback job, can’t do it alone. How the roster develops around him will be integral in maximizing what he can bring to the position. So let’s look at how the roster stacks up now with an eye on a 2024 season that will arrive in a little more than five months.

First, some notes: The Broncos are expected to sign 14 undrafted free agents. The list below, in alphabetical order, was built from various reports and social media announcements by agencies, colleges and/or the players themselves. The Broncos have yet to announce their undrafted free-agent signings.

Broncos UDFAs






Cam Allen





Jaylon Allen





Levelle Bailey




Fresno State

Omar Brown





Nik Constantinou




Texas A&M

Frank Crum





Dylan Leonard




Georgia Tech

Brandon Matterson





Jordan Miller





Alec Mock




Air Force

Quinton Newsome





Lincoln Victor




Washington State

Blake Watson





Thomas Yassmin





Rookie players are listed in italics. There are 95 players listed below, which means the Broncos will have roster moves to make to get all their rookies signed within the 90-man limit. Let’s get to it.



Starter: Bo Nix

Reserves: Jarrett Stidham, Zach Wilson, Ben DiNucci

Analysis: If I could type in pencil, that’s what I would do here. The Broncos were in no rush last week to name Nix the starter. He hasn’t even thrown his first pass in rookie minicamp. Payton seemed to indicate during his media session at the league meetings in March that sitting a rookie quarterback behind an established starter, as the Green Bay Packers had with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, could be beneficial. But the Broncos don’t have those bona fides in front of Nix. They won’t rush the rookie if he’s not ready, but Nix has every chance to win the job.

“I’m going to be able to take it all in,” Nix said of how he was approaching the offseason, which will begin with a rookie minicamp in the middle of May. “Learn as much as I possibly can, grow as much as I possibly can, just to where I can be the best version of myself so I can give that to my teammates and to this organization. It is a really exciting time.”

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Running back

Starter: Javonte Williams

Reserves: Samaje Perine, Michael Burton, Audric Estimé, Jaleel McLaughlin, Blake Watson, Tyler Badie

Analysis: Williams struggled during the second half of last season as he returned from major knee surgery. By the start of the 2024 campaign, though, he’ll be nearly two full years removed from the ACL tear he suffered during a game against the Raiders in 2022. Denver is hopeful Williams will more closely resemble the running back who rushed for 903 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie while routinely punishing defenders with his shoulder-lowering style in the open field. But Estimé, Denver’s fifth-round pick, could quickly put himself in the mix. He had limited wear and tear in college and could be the goal-line answer in the backfield the Broncos missed last season.

Another big question: Can Payton find new ways to maximize the talents of McLaughlin, who had an encouraging debut season as an undrafted rookie?

Assessing Broncos' post-draft depth chart: How long until Bo Nix is QB1? (2)

Rookie Audric Estimé will give Sean Payton’s offense a new option in the backfield. (Brandon Sloter / Getty Images)

Wide receiver

Starters: Courtland Sutton, Josh Reynolds

Reserves: Tim Patrick, Troy Franklin, Marvin Mims Jr., Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Brandon Johnson, DeVaughn Vele, Jalen Virgil, Phillip Dorsett, Michael Bandy, David Sills, Lincoln Victor

Analysis: The Broncos, despite rumors about his involvement in potential trades, appear set on keeping Sutton, who is under contract through the 2025 season. The seventh-year veteran is coming off a 10-touchdown season and will serve as a valuable safety blanket for Nix as he adjusts to the NFL game. There are other intriguing questions at the spot, too: How quickly can Franklin adjust to the physicality of the NFL? Can Patrick and Virgil, who was trending toward a 53-man roster spot last season before suffering a knee injury in the preseason, add new elements to Denver’s passing attack? How quickly can Reynolds find his role in a new scheme? There will be plenty of competition at this spot in the offseason.

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Tight end

Starters: Adam Trautman, Greg Dulcich

Reserves: Lucas Krull, Nate Adkins, Dylan Leonard, Thomas Yassmin

Analysis: Arguably the biggest surprise of the Broncos’ draft was that they didn’t leave it with a new tight end. The production wasn’t there from a pass-catching standpoint last season, largely because Dulcich, a player Payton hoped to use in a “Joker” role to create mismatches, rarely saw the field because of injuries. The Broncos need one of Dulcich or Krull, who showed some up-the-seam ability toward the end of last season, to become a bona fide target in this offense for Payton to stretch teams the way he wants. It will not be a surprise if the Broncos add another player at this position before the season begins.


Offensive tackle

Starters: Garett Bolles, Mike McGlinchey

Reserves: Matt Peart, Alex Palczewski, Demontrey Jacobs, Quinn Bailey, Will Sherman, Frank Crum

Analysis: The Broncos are set to return four of their five starters from last year’s offensive line, including both tackles. The Broncos passed on drafting an offensive tackle for the seventh straight year. They need Bolles, who is entering the final season of his contract, and McGlinchey, who was banged up at the tail end of 2023, to be healthy, dependable anchors all season for the Broncos to take a step forward offensively. Crum is an interesting developmental prospect at 6-foot-8 and 313 pounds who could have a shot to make the roster, but overall, the depth at tackle is a question.


Starters: Ben Powers, Sam Mustipher, Quinn Meinerz

Reserves: Alex Forsyth, Luke Wattenberg, Calvin Throckmorton, Nick Gargiulo

Analysis: One of the biggest questions for Denver’s offense: Who will take over for Lloyd Cushenberry at center? For now, I’ve penciled in Mustipher, a veteran free-agent acquisition in March, because of his experience (42 career starts). He’ll be in a battle that includes Wattenberg and Forsyth, who was Nix’s center at Oregon in 2022. Gargiulo, a seventh-round pick last week, has the versatility to play center but is set to start the offseason at guard. Overall, the interior of the offensive line looks like a spot where the Broncos could use an addition at some point between now and the start of the season.


Defensive line

Starters: Zach Allen, D.J. Jones, John Franklin-Myers

Reserves: Malcolm Roach, Angelo Blackson, Matt Henningsen, Elijah Garcia, Jordan Jackson, Rashard Lawrence, Brandon Matterson, Jordan Miller

Analysis: The Broncos made one of their biggest acquisitions of the offseason Saturday by acquiring Franklin-Myers in a trade with the Jets that cost Denver only a 2026 sixth-round pick. He’ll be a significant upgrade at the defensive end spot opposite Allen, where Denver struggled to find consistent production — against the run or pass — in 2023. The versatility Franklin-Myers has demonstrated throughout his career should give defensive coordinator Vance Joseph chances to experiment with different front alignments and personnel combinations. This is arguably the position group Denver has improved more than any other this offseason.

“We wanted to be better against the run,” general manager George Paton said after the draft. “We like the depth right now.”

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Outside linebacker

Starters: Baron Browning, Jonathon Cooper

Reserves: Nik Bonitto, Jonah Elliss, Thomas Incoom, Ronnie Perkins, Jaylon Allen

Analysis: The Broncos may not have an elite-level edge rusher on the roster, but they are building an intriguing group that could have the ability to come at defenses in waves. Despite the fact Denver struggled to stop the run in 2023, Cooper (8 1/2 sacks) and Bonitto (eight) produced career-best performances and could take another step forward under the continued guidance of position coach Jamar Cain. If Elliss can make early waves as a sub-package player, this could be a strong, balanced group, particularly if Browning can stay healthy after dealing with various injuries the past two seasons.

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Inside linebacker

Starters: Alex Singleton, Cody Barton

Reserves: Drew Sanders, Jonas Griffith, Justin Strnad, Durell Nchami, Alec Mock, Levelle Bailey

Analysis: The Broncos are listing Sanders, a third-round pick in 2023, as an inside linebacker despite ending his rookie season playing on the edge. It will be intriguing to see where Sanders begins the offseason program, but he may be the most athletically gifted player in either linebacker group. If he can make strides with his field awareness, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sanders earn a starting spot next to Singleton. For now, that job appears to belong to Barton, the Broncos’ veteran replacement for long-time starter Josey Jewell.

Assessing Broncos' post-draft depth chart: How long until Bo Nix is QB1? (6)

Could Drew Sanders see a bigger role in his second season? (Jed Jacobsohn / Associated Press)


Starters: Pat Surtain II, Levi Wallace

Reserves: Riley Moss, Damarri Mathis, Kris Abrams-Draine, Ja’Quan McMillian, Tremon Smith, Art Green, Reese Taylor, Quinton Newsome

Analysis: Wallace gets the veteran nod for now, but CB2 should be one of the best battles of camp. Moss played only a handful of defensive snaps as a rookie last season — and all of those were in Denver’s dime look — but the Broncos believe he can become a reliable full-time starter on the outside. They also drafted Abrams-Draine in the fifth round and have Mathis entering his third season and hoping to show he’s still a viable starting option after being benched for veteran Fabian Moreau early last season.


“It’s a really good problem to have,” Paton said of having as many as four players set to compete for a starting corner spot. “I’ve mentioned before, you can’t have enough pass rushers; you really can’t have enough corners. So we know we’re going to have good depth, young depth. You can’t ask for anything more. Especially (since) Pat is kind of the leader of the group, and he’s only 24 years old. So it’s going to be a young group. They’ll have growing pains like all of them, but we feel like it’s a talented group.”

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Starters: P.J. Locke, Brandon Jones

Reserves: Caden Sterns, JL Skinner, Delarrin Turner-Yell, Devon Key, Keidron Smith, Tanner McCalister, Omar Brown, Cam Allen

Analysis: The task of replacing Pro Bowler and team leader Justin Simmons, released in March as a salary-cap casualty, will be done by committee. In a perfect world, Locke, Jones and Sterns — they played one season at the University of Texas together — would be healthy, interchangeable pieces, giving Joseph different ways to mix coverages and blitz quarterbacks from the defensive backfield. Sterns will first have to prove he can be available after missing most of the past two seasons due to injuries (hip, knee). How ready is Skinner, a sixth-round pick in 2023, to make an impact if called upon?


Starters: Wil Lutz (kicker), Riley Dixon (punter), Mitchell Fraboni (long snapper)

Reserve: Nik Constantinou (punter)

Analysis: The Broncos avoided a second straight offseason kicking competition when Lutz agreed to remain in Denver after contemplating a deal with the Jaguars. But that could be replaced with a punting battle. Dixon had a fine season in his return to Denver in 2023, but the Broncos want to get a look at Constantinou, a Texas A&M graduate and product of the Prokick Australia academy who is set to sign as an undrafted free agent.

(Top photo: John Smolek / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Assessing Broncos' post-draft depth chart: How long until Bo Nix is QB1? (2024)
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