The Broncos divulged their first authorized depth chart Tuesday.
A River runs through it.
A Broncos’ depth chart before the first exhibition is about as worthless as a chocolate cup for hot chocolate. Neither will last very long.
Vance Joseph agrees with the assessment. The depth chart “means nothing right now. It’s going to change probably 50 more times.’’ Indeed, the Broncos have, the coach said, “major competition at a lot of areas.’’
Depth is deep with 90 players on the roster.
The coaching staff — with help from one executive in particular — listed first team, second team, third team and the category aspirants loathe: “Others’’. Might as well be billed as the Professor and Mary Ann were in the original “Gilligan’s Island” theme — “And the rest’’.
Leon Johnson, Caushaud Lyons, Bo Bower and Bryce Bobo are “Others.’’ But, then, Terrell Davis and C.J. Anderson once were among were appendages and afterthoughts who ascended.
It’s not an impossible mission.
Marcus Rios was an undrafted free agent last year and an “Other’’ in camp. He was cut, signed to the practice squad and, finally, elevated to the active roster and played in five games.
This camp he’s is back to being a P.S. cornerback.
Perhaps the only somewhat shocking development of the offensive first team was tight end Jeff Heuerman, who is injured ... again. The third-round pick in 2015 tore his ACL and missed the season. He’s since started only eight games and caught 18 passes.
Joseph indicated the depth chart was based on the basis of previous experience.
Well, Bradley Chubb has none, and he was named on the No. 1 team at outside linebacker opposite Von Miller.
Exception to the rule.
You correctly could guess everybody else selected for the starting 22.
However, as Vance said, there will be vicissitudes. A player or two (Jake Butt and Courtland Sutton) will move up, and several will fall from second or third team to off the team.
Does Chad Kelly pass Paxton Lynch and does Royce Freeman overtake Devontae Booker? Who are the four reserves on the offensive line and at wide receiver? Will the Broncos keep four tight ends, five safeties and six cornerbacks? Do all of this year’s draft choices make the team, and will the eight from the ’17 draft survive?
... 8, 9, 10. Count out Carlos Henderson, the lost third-round pick.
Who will be the undrafted free agent(s) on the team this year? Rush linebacker Jeff Holland presently is an “Other,’’ but should endure the cuts. Colorado’s Own Phillip Lindsay is a keeper. Veteran receiver Corey Brown, who stood out for the Panthers against the Broncos in the Super Bowl, will be a factor in the final draw.
As will River Clyde Cracraft.
His name is like Billy Clyde Puckett, the quarterback out of the Dan Jenkins novel “Semi-Tough.’’ But the 6-footer looks, plays and catches like those Patriots and Broncos receivers Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Brandon Stokley.
Named for his grandfather — who lived by the River Clyde, which runs through Glasgow to the Firth of Clyde in Scotland — Cracraft has become of a favorite of mine, Stokley (of course) and the Broncos.
Cracraft, who hasn’t disappeared into the camp cracks, is third on the depth chart behind Demaryius Thomas and rookie draft choice DaeSean Hamilton at one wideout, although River obviously is a slot receiver. He’s also third as a kick returner and second as a punt returner.
He’s first onto the practice field every day.
Sutton and Hamilton, D.T. and Emmanuel Sanders are getting the attention, deservedly, but Cracraft, who you’ve never heard of, runs seamless routes, never drops passes and makes ridiculous receptions, and is appropriate as a returner, and a special teamer.
He played at Washington State for four years (218 catches, 2,701 yards, 20 touchdowns) until a knee injury prematurely ended his 2016 season.
He was undrafted, but the Broncos signed him to the practice squad in October. Cracraft tore his hamstring and was released. Yet, the Broncos brought him back late in the season — then signed him to a deal for this camp.
River is no “Other’’ on the Broncos’ depth chart.