Peyton Manning helped put the Broncos back into the playoffs again last season yet they fell disappointingly short in January. The Broncos hoped to add the final pieces on defense which would push them closer to the Super Bowl.
Sylvester Williams/DT/North Carolina (Round 1, pick #28): The Broncos entered the draft with needs at defensive tackle and cornerback. They filled the hole at defensive tackle with one of the best players at the position. Williams offers the versatility to line-up in both three and four man fronts, possesses the playmaking skills to get to the quarterback as well as the athleticism necessary to chase the action laterally in pursuit. He has next level size and plays hard for 60 minutes. I felt all along he was underrated and I fully expect Williams to be a day one starter for Denver.
Montee Ball/RB/Wisconsin (Round 2, pick #58): With depth needed at the running back spot Denver came away with more value in round two. Ball possesses all the necessary skills to be a feature runner in the NFL; size, the power to run on the inside and enough quickness to occasionally turn the corner. His senior campaign was disappointing as were his workouts in the lead up to the draft. If he gets his game back together Ball could end up as Denver’s main ball carrier in 2014.
Kayvon Webster/CB/South Florida (Round 3, pick #90): As much as we like Denver’s initial two selections their choice in round three was a major reach. Webster flashed skill the two years he started at South Florida and comes with desired size/speed numbers. But the fact is Webster did not consistently play at a high level in college and better cornerbacks (BW Webb, Sanders Commings) were available at this pick.
Quanterus Smith/DE-OLB/Western Kentucky (Round 5, pick #146): Hall of Fame coach and general manager Bill Walsh made a habit of selecting talented but injured players late in the draft. When asked why he simply responded “injuries heal.” So it is with the Broncos selection in round five. Smith is a pass rushing menace who is effective standing up over tackle or coming out of a three point stance. He was moving up draft boards until his 2012 season was prematurely ended by a torn ACL in his left knee. Smith was great value in the fifth frame and will add depth at defensive end once he’s back to full health.
Tavarres King/WR/Georgia (Round 5, pick #161): Like running back, the Broncos lack depth at the receiver position. Demaryius Thomas is developing into a lethal threat and Wes Welker was a nice free agent pick-up, but there’s not much on the roster after that. Enter King, an athletic receiver with consistent hands and the ability to line up in the slot or on the flank. King lacks great upside yet comes with a polished game and should see significant action as a rookie in 2013.
Vinston Painter/OL/Virginia Tech (Round 6, pick #173): Painter was terrific value in round six. He’s a versatile blocker who can line up at tackle or guard and a late bloomer with a large degree of upside. He’s a developmental prospect with a future in the NFL. We’d be surprised if Painter does not somehow make a practice squad this fall.
Zac Dysert/QB/Miami-Oh (Round 7, pick #234): In a nutshell, why not? Dysert was early second day value but slid into the last round. Depending on how much they like Brock Osweiler, their second round pick from 2012, it may be tough for Dysert to elevate above third signal caller on the roster. Still, he could be future trade bait if he shows anything in the pre-season.
Grade: B. Denver filled needs with value picks in the first two rounds, added depth at pass rusher and receiver in the fifth frame, selected a developmental prospect in round six then finished the draft with future trade bait. The reason we don’t give this draft a higher grade was the selection of Webster in round three. Regardless, the Denver Broncos leave the draft a better team, on paper anyway.