The Cut to 53: Defensive Backfield

Perrish Cox

COX: ... beaten out by Cassius Vaughn, Chris Harris.

In (9): Champ Bailey, André Goodman, Brian Dawkins, Rahim Moore (R), Cassius Vaughn, Quinton Carter (R), David Bruton, Darcel McBath, Chris Harris (R).
Out (3):
Brandon Bing, Perrish Cox, Kyle McCarthy.
Injured reserve:
Syd’Quan Thompson.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The Broncos kept nine defensive backs, but it wasn’t the neuftet that many expected.

The only moves that could be considered a surprise involved cornerback Perrish Cox and safety Kyle McCarthy, both of whom contributed last year but found themselves on the waiver wire Saturday.

Cox started nine games last year and went through training camp under the shadow of an October trial on sexual assault charges stemming from an incident last September. But general manager Brian Xanders did not cite Cox’s legal issues as a reason for his departure.

“(For) everybody coming out of that lockout — it’s their job to create their role. No roster spot is safe,” Xanders said. “(Cox’s role) was based on the four preseason games, the five weeks of training camp.

“It’s unfortunate to make a cut like that when he’d started for you before, but the coaches talked to him about what he needs to improve on for his career. It’s unfortunate we let a draft pick go like that.”

With Cox waived and Syd’Quan Thompson on injured reserve with an Achilles tendon injury, the Broncos only have four cornerbacks. Look for supplemental depth at that spot to come from the practice squad or, perhaps a Sunday waiver claim.


  • Harris was the only undrafted rookie to make the 53-man roster, and special teams might have made the difference for him. “He showed toughness initially, coverage ability, feistiness, aggression — and that’s all on defense in practice and games — and then on the preseason tape, he became one of the better corners on special teams, he was physical, he was fast, he was tough,” Xanders said, “so he fit the traits for that fourth or fifth corner.”
  • McBath is the last member of the three-man second-round class of 2009 still with the Broncos; cornerback Alphonso Smith was traded to Detroit last year and tight end Richard Quinn was waived/injured last week.
  • Bailey is the most tenured active Bronco, with seven seasons of previous experience; he joined the team eight weeks before D.J. Wiliiams was drafted in 2004.
  • The expected starting secondary of Bailey, Goodman, Moore and Dawkins is the oldest first-team unit on the Broncos; even with the rookie Moore, the average age of the quartet is 31.
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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on when the site was managed by He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began in 2010 and now contributes to, The Sporting News and The New York Times.

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