ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --** Shaquil Barrett knew a Broncos roster spot was opening up when, on Tuesday, Danny Trevathan was moved to injured reserve with designation to return, but he didn't want to get his hopes up about a promotion.
"I was shocked when I got the call because I pretty much prepared myself for it not to happen," the former Colorado State star said Wednesday, smiling from ear to ear. "But when it happened I was really excited."
Barrett's addition to the 53-man roster wasn't really geared toward replacing like for like on the roster -- Barrett is a bigger, strongside linebacker like Von Miller as opposed to the faster, sideline-to-sideline and coverage style that Trevathan is suited for. Rather, as Head Coach John Fox mentioned, Barrett proved himself worthy of a shot on the active roster with a strong preseason and consistent performances in practice.
"Just the way he's gone about his work, what we saw in training camp," Fox said when asked what about Barrett impressed him. "He was a guy that was a college free agent that came in and caught all the coaches' eyes based on his performance, so he's earned it."
Barrett consistently flashed in training camp practices as a run defender and pass rusher, showing off some impressive moves in one-on-one drills and bothering quarterbacks in team periods. Barrett also drew a holding penalty against the Seahawks in the preseason opener and picked up two sacks in the preseason finale against the Cowboys.
If the Broncos weren't so deep at Barrett's position -- with Miller and Lerentee McCray (who also flashed in training camp), as well as Nate Irving's experience on the strong side -- he may well have made the roster out of training camp. Now, with Trevathan sidelined until at least the Dec. 14 game against the Chargers, Barrett will get his hard-earned chance.
"I just come out here and just give my 100 percent effort every day and try to get the guys on the offense better," he said.
"I probably stuck out a couple times every practice but it probably wasn't on a consistent basis. But I feel like I did it on a consistent basis today. It just makes me more hungry now."
Barrett is the third rookie from CSU to earn a spot on a 53-man roster around the league. Second-round pick Weston Richburg has started all six of the Giants' games this year at guard, while tight end Crockett Gillmore, a third-round pick, has played in all six games for the Ravens.
"We had a lot of great talent come out this year," Barrett said. "To be out there and prove that I can play and that we've got some good talent down there at Colorado State, that's something I'm looking to do."
Barrett added that after a brief period of celebration ("about 20 minutes"), he quickly returned his focus to preparing for what could be his first NFL action on Sunday night against the 49ers. "Now I've got to get back to business," he said. "Come back and watch film, eat right and stuff, take care of my body, so I can go out there and be the best I can be."