Just 28 of those players were claimed by other teams for their 53-man rosters. Now, if you really want someone to be a part of your team and don't want to risk it, then you find other players to let go. But if last year's numbers are a guide, and roughly five percent of waived players end up being snatched onto another roster within 24 hours, then you can see why teams roll the dice so often, even with players they hold in high esteem and would like to see be part of the club's future.
This is the reality of the next three days from the Broncos' perspective.
"Let’s face it, when we pick 53 we’re looking to hopefully get 53 starters -- guys that we feel good enough about to start," said Head Coach John Fox. "You need that depth throughout the season."
But often when teams make decisions on players, "good enough to start" doesn't simply mean at that moment, but eventually, after proper developmental time -- which can often be accelerated if that young player is pressed into service and forced to learn on the fly.
Even if such an opportunity does not avail itself, there are merits to patience with players at relatively embryonic stages in their development; one need only look at tight end
Because the Broncos were patient through his growth and his struggles with ankle injuries, they're poised to reap the rewards of a uniquely talented tight end who, as a fourth-round pick in 2011, almost certainly would not have passed through waivers to the practice squad if the Broncos had gambled on waiving him in either of the last two years. Now the Broncos have a potential starter with a distinct skill set who is particularly well-suited to an offense like the one the Broncos run.
The other conundrum lies in having too many players for one position group. That could be an issue among guards and centers, who are lumped together for purposes of roster construction and the Broncos' stated affinity for having backups who can swing between multiple interior positions.
With the recent trade for
The seven 2012 starters on the interior line does not include veteran
"That’s probably going to be one of the tougher ones for us -- on the offense at least," said Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase.
The cutdown will be a nervous time for many other Broncos, including the No. 3 quarterback,
The team kept just two quarterbacks last year at the final roster deadline -- although it had three after bringing back Caleb Hanie one week into the regular season -- and also had two quarterbacks late in 2011, keeping No. 3 passer Adam Weber on the practice squad after Kyle Orton was released. And although Hanie was on the 53-man roster after returning to the Broncos, he didn't dress for any games.
The past isn't always an accurate guide, but Dysert knows the reality of his situation -- and admits he would "in a way" be disappointed if he's not on the 53-man roster.
"But at the same time I know that (it could) make me better and that in the scheme of the team that’s best for the team," Dysert said. "I’m a big team guy, so if that happens, then it happens and I’ll do whatever I can to make the team better."
There is a risk if the Broncos waive Dysert -- and it appears to be a bit greater than at other positions and other circumstances. From 2010-12, seven rookie drafted quarterbacks were waived. B.J. Coleman, Chandler Hamish, Zac Robinson, Levi Brown, Jonathan Crompton and Sean Canfield all passed through waivers without being claimed; the only execption was Dan LeFevour, who was waived by Chicago and immediately claimed by Cincinnati.
But the risk exists at all positions. The Broncos lost a chance to retain safety Rafael Bush last year when he was claimed by New Orleans; Bush had shown enough mettle as a special-teams thumper in 2011 to earn that shot elsewhere. That could be key in determining the future of a rookie like linebacker
"Their resume is on that tape," Fox said. "So whether it works out for them here or not, it could work out for them somewhere else."
The task for the Broncos now is selecting the 53 players with the best shot of being successful -- and hoping that up to eight others they like won't catch the eyes of anyone else in the 24 hours that follow the cuts.