2013 NFL Draft: 5 Prospects Who Where Born to Play for Denver Broncos
At the time of this article being written, the 2013 NFL draft is 76 days, 20 hours, 26 minutes and 48 seconds away, but it's never too early to talk draft.
This is not a mock draft! Some of these players may not be available when the Broncos select 28th overall (if the team does not trade out of that spot). Other players may not even be first-round prospects, but all of them could make an impact in Denver.
This slideshow highlights draft prospects who would be an ideal fit on either Denver's offense or defense in 2013.
Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o
The Broncos have a star in Von Miller and a rising star in Wesley Woodyard at the outside linebacker positions. But at middle linebacker, the team needs help.
Joe Mays takes poor angles against the run and gets roasted in pass coverage. Veteran Keith Brooking is due to hit free agency, and he will be turning 38 next October.
Enter Notre Dame's Manti Te'o.
Te'o (6'2", 255 pounds) is an athletic inside linebacker who can play both the pass (he recorded seven interceptions his senior year) and against the run (he notched 34 tackles for losses during his collegiate career). The Broncos have a need at linebacker, and Te'o fits the bill.
If he lands in Denver, the Broncos' linebacking corps of Miller, Te'o and Woodyard would form one of the fastest young 4-3 units in the league.
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
This offseason, the Broncos will have to make decisions about veteran running back Willis McGahee and under-performer Knowshon Moreno. In the most likely scenario, at least one of those running backs won't be coming back in 2013.
That leaves the team with youngster Ronnie Hillman, who has great speed and shiftiness, but lacks the size and awareness to be an every-down back, or even a short-yardage option.
Enter Wisconsin's Montee Ball.
Ball (5'11", 215 pounds) outweighs Hillman by 30 pounds and Moreno by 15, proving throughout his college career that he can muscle his way into the end zone. In his collegiate career, Ball rushed for 77 touchdowns.
Last season, McGahee and Moreno tied in leading the team with four scores apiece. Ball would provide a powerful option to Denver's backfield while giving the team more youth—providing a great balance in Denver's backfield paired up with the spry, speedy Hillman.
Florida DT Sharrif Floyd
Sharrif Floyd NFL Player Comparison
The Broncos have star outside rushers in Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, a star cornerback in Champ Bailey and a rising star defensive back in Chris Harris. The major weak-spot on defense remains defensive tackle (next to middle linebacker).
This offseason, both Kevin Vickerson and Justin Bannan—Denver's two starting defensive tackles—will become free agents. The Broncos may bring back one, or both, but the team could still use depth.
Enter Florida's Sharrif Floyd.
Floyd (6'3", 303 pounds) started in 24 games for the Gators, recording 69 tackles, 13 tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks and blocked a field goal attempt.
LSU DB Tyrann Mathieu
The Broncos have two aging veterans in Champ Bailey and Mike Adams and two youngsters in Chris Harris and Rahim Moore. Moving forward, the team can use more depth in the secondary.
Enter LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.
If he can get his act together off the field, Mathieu has the potential to become a huge playmaking corner or safety in the NFL. Learning under Bailey early in his career certainly wouldn't hurt (his playing ability or professional approach to life and the game).
If the Broncos feel confident that Mathieu has matured, bringing him in would be a no-brainer.
Texas A&M WR Ryan Swope
The Broncos have a great group of receivers, but their top slot option, veteran Brandon Stokley, is due to become a free agent. Even if Stokley does return, he likely won't play beyond the 2013 season.
Enter Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope.
Swope (6'1", 206 pounds) is entering the NFL draft after catching 161 yards for 2,120 yards and 19 touchdowns over his final two years of college football. In Denver, quarterback Peyton Manning could turn Swope into the next Stokley.
As of early February, Swope is projected to be a fourth-round selection. The Broncos, who own six selections, can afford to use a mid-round pick on an offensive weapon.