By Court Zierk @courtzierk on July 8, 2014
Every summer there are players who seem to come out of nowhere to land a spot on the 53-man roster. The Broncos have a particularly successful history of finding undrafted free agents (UDFA) who end up making a lasting impact. In fact, at least one UDFA has made the final roster 10 years in a row. Here are the top five dark horse candidates to secure a roster spot this season.
Chase Vaughn is a fairy tale come to life. He attended a local, Denver area high school before playing his college ball at CSU - Pueblo, a division II school, where he demolished all of the school’s sack records. He then bounced around in four different professional leagues before landing a spot on the Broncos' 90-man roster. He may be a longshot for the 53-man roster, but destiny works in funny ways sometimes.
Another local favorite, Bibbs played at CSU for one year before leaving early to enter the draft. Although he wasn’t drafted, he was signed by the Broncos shortly after. He shares a collegiate record with Barry Sanders and Montee Ball for rushing touchdowns in a season, the only players to rush for over 30 in a season. Given the Broncos' lack of depth at RB, don’t be surprised when he makes the 53-man roster.
McCray was well on his way to securing a roster spot last preseason before a severe ankle injury landed him on IR. The Broncos certainly need depth at the linebacker position, so as long as he can return to the same levels he was playing at during last preseason, he has a great shot at making the roster. He is a versatile player who can also play some DE, something that Jack Del Rio loves since he can throw unique looks at opposing offenses.
The Broncos are certainly deep at WR, but when you have Peyton Manning as your quarterback, you can never have too many weapons. Fowler certainly looks the part of a NFL WR. At 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, he certainly has the size, but he also has the speed (4.39 in 40-yard dash). He will be too enticing of a prospect for the Broncos to resist.
Yet another local product, Barrett attended CSU alongside Kapri Bibbs. In some circles, he was considered to be as high as a fourth-round draft pick but ended up going undrafted. Again, the Broncos need serious depth at linebacker and will give him a serious look. He doesn’t necessarily look the part, but he has a nose for the ball and finds a way to make plays. Barrett could be a great special teams player for the Broncos this year.
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