The Cut to 53: Defensive Line

Ty Warren

WARREN: ... team willing to invest a roster spot in the hopes of his return.

In (10): Robert Ayers, Elvis Dumervil, Brodrick Bunkley, Marcus Thomas, Derrick Harvey, Jason Hunter, Ryan McBean, Mitch Unrein, Kevin Vickerson, Ty Warren.
Out (4): Jeremy Beal, Ronnell Brown, Jeremy Jarmon, DeMario Pressley.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – No line of defense had more players on the Broncos’ post-cutdown roster, but the 10 defensive linemen kept is deceptive, at least for the moment.

Neither Marcus Thomas nor Ty Warren have been available since suffering pectoral-muscle and triceps injuries, respectively, during training camp. While Thomas is expected back in the next few weeks, Warren remains on a timetable that can be measured in months.

Warren might be available in the season’s final weeks; general manager Brian Xanders was “hopeful” that he could be available by then.

“With the triceps surgical repair, it could be 10 to 12 weeks; we’ll see. It could be longer,” he said Saturday. “But we’re going to keep him inactive and get him rehabbed and get him ready to go.”

Warren was one of the newcomers under intense focus from onlookers during training camp, but most of the defensive linemen are holdovers from 2010 — although three of them were 3-4 outside linebackers (Dumervil, Ayers, Hunter). Ayers did see some occasional work as a 3-4 defensive end the last two years, but for Dumervil and Hunter, the shift represents a return to where they spent most of their careers.


  • This is the only line of the Broncos’ defense without a rookie among its ranks.
  • The most surprising cut was that of Jeremy Jarmon, a 3-4 defensive end in Washington who shifted inside to three-technique tackle and moved up the depth chart after injuries to Warren and Thomas were compounded by injuries to Vickerson and Bunkley. “He was another tough cut,” Xanders said.
  • Unrein, a practice-squad member last year, made the team following a stellar, dogged performance against the Cardinals on Thursday. An injury kept Unrein sidelined in the preseason opener at Dallas, but when he played a week later, “He came back a lot stronger, bigger, stout, and very aggressive,” Xanders explained. “He didn’t get knocked off the ball, played really hard, and he had made a lot of improvement from when he was on the practice squad a year ago. The thing that he did was that he flashed some production in those games. I believe in the Seahawks game, he had four tackles in 13 plays, and he kept improving.”
  • Harvey, a 2008 first-pick who signed with the Broncos after the Jacksonville Jaguars jettisoned him, made the roster. Harvey didn’t record any quarterback pressures in the preseason, but Xanders cited Harvey’s work against the run the fact that he was “hard to block” when the Broncos stunted him.
  • Beal was the only 2011 draft pick to not make the 53-man roster. He struggled to gain traction during practices and didn’t record a quarterback hit or a sack during the preseason, although he did log three tackles for losses.
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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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