Broncos Finalize Initial 53-Man Roster

Denver Broncos General Manager George Paton talks with reporters on Tuesday, August 30 at UCHealth Training Center. (Photo courtesy Denver Broncos)

The Denver Broncos initial 53-man roster is done.

General Manager George Paton and Assistant GM Darren Mougey said the conversations to narrow down the players who made it included front office personnel, the scouting staff and coaches.

Paton said Brett Rypien won the job as the Broncos back-up quarterback, edging out veteran Josh Johnson.

“It was really tough. [QB] Brett [Rypien] and [QB] Josh [Johnson] had a great competition, Paton said. "It came down to the final game. The body at work, both these guys did a lot of really good things. I just think the way ‘Ryp’ [QB Brett Rypien] operated the offense, the way he moved the team, he did some really good things. I’ll let [Head] Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett talk about the rest of that, but it was a really close competition. We hope to get [QB] Josh [Johnson] back as well."

Wide receiver Jalen Virgil, who signed with the Broncos as a college free agent out of Appalachian State University, made the roster after a standout training camp. He shined during the Broncos preseason games. Paton said they had to keep Virgil.

"I think you need speed in this league. Virgil obviously provides that. Every game he made plays, made plays every practice. He can cover kicks. He can return kicks. He has answered every test and aced it."

With Virgil making it, the Broncos have now had a rookie college free agent make the 53-man roster out of training camp for 18 of the last 19 years.

The Broncos traded linebacker Malik Reed and their seventh round draft pick in 2023 to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Steelers' sixth round selectin next year.


Check out the full remarks from Paton and Mougey below. They talk about some of the decisions on individual position battles, the process of formulating the roster, cutting players, the possibilities for the practice squad and more.

Paton also joined Dave Logan, Alfred Williams and Ryan Edwards on the KOA Sports Zoo on Tuesday, August 30.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos on Tuesday announced several transactions to reach the league-mandated 53-player regular-season roster limit.

The team waived or released 19 players and placed wide receiver Brandon Johnson on reserve/injured. Additionally, the Broncos agreed to trade outside linebacker Malik Reed and a 2023 seventh-round draft pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for the Steelers’ 2023 sixth-round draft selection.

The Broncos may establish a practice squad of up to 16 players beginning on Wednesday. The following transactions were announced by the club on Tuesday:


* - The position breakdown of the 53-man roster is as follows: Quarterbacks (2), Running Backs (3), Wide Receivers (6), Tight Ends (4), Offensive Linemen (9), Defensive Linemen (5), Linebackers (10), Defensive Backs (11), Specialists (3).

* - The active roster features 16 players who were not with the club in any capacity during the 2021 season. Included in that total are eight draft selections, five veteran free agents, one trade acquisition, one player acquired via waivers and one college free agent.

* - Eight of the Broncos’ nine draft picks in 2022—and 14 of General Manager George Paton’s 19 career draft selections—made the initial 53-man roster.

* - The average age of the active roster is 25.9 years old and includes 22 players who are currently under the age of 25.

* - For the 18th time in the last 19 years, a rookie college free agent made the team’s initial 53-man active roster out of training camp. Wide receiver Jalen Virgil (Appalachian State) gives Denver 26 college free agents who have made the Broncos’ active roster out of training camp since 1997.


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