Ryan Finley, True Freshman, 6'3" 186 lbs.
Grant Hedrick, Junior, 6'0" 202 lbs.
Nick Patti, RS Freshman, 5'10" 196 lbs.
Joe Southwick, Senior, 6'1" 202 lbs.
Projected Depth Chart
1. Joe Southwick
2. Grant Hedrick
3. Nick Patti
4. Ryan Finley
Let's be honest...this isn't even really a projection. Although some mystery still exists in other units, you can practically set your watch by this one. Southwick is and has been the clear cut starter throughout last season and into the offseason and the only real shakeup here is the departure of Jimmy Laughrea. I'll admit, I'm still curious to see what Patti can do in a game situation, but at this point, I'd prefer that action to be in the 4th quarter and chock full of handoffs to Charles Bertoli. Hedrick is probably our backup based on seniority and the fact that Patti hasn't taken any big steps in the offseason, but if his ball security is as bad as advertised, feel free to swap 2 and 3.
Hype level: High
Southwick is NOT Kellen Moore—that's been established, but he showed flashes of being an above-average signal caller last season and that's all we really ask from him at the end of the day. He never set the world ablaze with his statlines a year ago, but one column should jump out at you—over the last 4 games of 2012 Southwick threw 9 TDs against no INTs. If he doesn't turn the ball over and gets the Broncos into scoring position, we have the weapons to put points on the board. This offseason, he's drawn rave reviews from just about every member of the team and staff and I think he'll be a much more efficient killing machine in 2013. If the deep ball truly has returned, he'll put up some respectable numbers as well. I'd put his WinCo heckling quotient at near zero.
The one to watch
The backup race is a minor subplot as it might have a bearing on next year's starter...but then again, it might not. The real intrigue here is all Joe Southwick, who rebounded nicely last season and seemed to have built good momentum into 2013. We'll know in ten days whether the new improved Southwick is as good as advertised, and if he is—the Broncos title hopes look a lot brighter.
The Broncos play Southwick, Hedrick and Patti along with all four RBs at the same time this season, in a formation known as "The Hydra".