John Elway looking to add talent to a potential Super Bowl team
The NFL draft is finally upon us! The Denver Broncos want to make a run at the Super Bowl and are in need of impact players in the 2013 NFL Draft. This draft class is strong at the positions of need for the Broncos and they should have plenty of options in every round.
Here's a look at the picks the Broncos have made so far in the 2013 NFL draft. Make sure to check back often as I will update this post immediately after the picks are made.
The Broncos get another big body in the first-round by adding defensive tackle Sylvester Williams from North Carolina. Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio wants big bodies in his front seven on defense and Williams is certainly that. He measures in at 6'3" 313 pounds and can be an immovable object in the middle of the line.
Williams only played high school football for one year and started his college career at the JUCO level at Coffeyville Community College. He's known as a strong player with violent striking hands and he can disengage from blockers quickly. Williams plays with a high motor and should quickly become a favorite of the coaching staff because of his team first mentality. He does need to improve his stamina as sometimes he'll wear himself out with incredible effort. Williams also needs to recognize plays quicker and flow to the ball with better gap responsibility.
Denver allowed a league low 3.5 yards per carry between the tackles last year with a strong defensive line. That number could be even better in 2013 with the addition of Williams.
Denver adds the grinder between the tackles they've been looking for with Montee Ball. New offensive coordinator Adam Gase is going to use an up tempo offense featuring three wide receiver sets. That will spread out and thin out the defense, which should create bigger rush lanes for the ground game.
Ball is your classic banger who is neither creative or elusive. However, he is a workhorse who had 983 touches in college. Some say running backs are like tires and they only have so much tread. If that's the case then Ball's tires are bald. The workload he had in college is both a positive and a negative. It shows his ability to carry the full load, but it also brings up concerns about how much he has left in the tank.
His ability to pick up tough yards between the tackles will make him a favorite of the coaching staff. Ball loves to initiate contact, runs with a good pad level, and always falls forward after he's wrapped up. The addition of a power runner brings into question the future of veterans Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno. The Broncos have a 'Thunder and Lightning' duo now with Ball and last year's third-round pick Ronnie Hillman.
The Broncos wanted to add help in the secondary and they get that with Kayvon Webster. Denver's defense should have an advantage by playing with a lead built up by Peyton Manning and the offense. That will force opponents to be pass happy which leads to more opportunity for players in the secondary.
Speed is the name of the game with Webster. He's got top end speed for the cornerback position and a good closing burst when a wide receiver makes a break on the route. Webster is a balanced player who was among the leading tacklers for the Bulls in 2012 (82). He's not afraid of helping in run support but sometimes gets caught looking in the backfield. Quarterbacks can get him to bite on play fakes because of his aggressive style. Webster has the recovery speed to make up space if he's burned by a double move but needs to develop better instincts or even average NFL quarterbacks will make him pay.Webster can also help out on special teams because of his speed and elusiveness in the open field.
Denver gets more depth (and youth) in a secondary that has plenty of age and experience in starters Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Webster is going to learn the ropes behind Bailey and could look to develop into a starter in the near future. This is a pick that gives Denver depth now and a potential impact player in the future.
To this point in the NFL draft the Broncos had not yet addressed the defensive end position. That drought comes to an end with the selection of Smith in the fifth-round. Denver traded out of the fourth-round and picked up the 146th and 173rd picks from the Green Bay Packers.
Smith fits the 'big seven' profile that defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio likes. He's 6'4" 250 pounds and known for his ability to make plays all over the field. Smith is fast for a big man and has the range to be a chase tackler downfield if the ball carrier goes away from his side of the field. That speed also comes in handy when he's getting after the quarterback.
He's position versatile and switched between playing left defensive end and right defensive end in college. Like all of the Broncos' picks in this draft Smith had a high level of production in college, finishing his career with 24 sacks and 41 tackles for loss.
Smith does need to add bulk to his frame as too often he can get pushed out of the way in run defense. Denver's strength and conditioning program should be able to add that functional strength without losing any of Smith's trademark speed. He's a value pick as some in the scouting community thought he would go in the fourth-round. As a part time pass rusher Smith could have a bigger impact in 2013 than some think.
This wide receiver draft class if full of talent all the way through the late rounds. Even though the Broncos seem set at the position they decided to add Tavarres King in the fifth-round.
King is a player I watched up close during the week of practice for the Senior Bowl earlier this year in Mobile, AL. It was an impressive week of practice and King was a standout player every day.
He's technically sound as a route runner and does a good job getting open. He can break off his routes quickly and does not telegraph where he's going.
He accelerates quickly and doesn't lose much speed when changing direction. King is not the biggest wide receiver but he is very feisty and does a good job of fighting through press coverage at the line of scrimmage. His toughness is further proven as King is fearless when running routes over the middle.
King will compete to be the Broncos' fourth wide receiver on the depth chart behind Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker. With his upside King should be able to win that job and have a bright future with the Broncos in the years to come.
Another value pick for the Broncos here. Some thought Vinston Painter would be overdrafted because of his outstanding workout numbers but that wasn't the case. At 6'4" 305 pounds Painter ran a 4.95 40-yard dash at the Hokies pro day. He also did 32 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press.
Scouts know Painter is a better athlete than he is a football player at this time. However, his upside is very good and he could develop into a quality right tackle or guard in the NFL.
Painter is light on his feet and can be a sticky blocker at the second level. He does a good job of finding linebackers and blotting them out of the play.Handling an edge rusher is not a problem for Painter as he's develop a quick kick step and sets up before defenders have a chance to get into their first move.
He originally went to Virginia Tech as a defensive tackle but was moved to the offensive line as a freshmen. Painter lacks experience with only 13 starts under his belt during his college career. Potential is a dangerous word in the draft process but selecting Painter at this spot in the draft is a smart move for Denver.
The Broncos need offensive line depth and Painter gives them that and a whole lot more. He'll be a reserve player now but could step in as an emergency starter sometime in the near future.
Adding a quarterback in the last round of the 2013 NFL draft can pay off for teams if that player develops. When working for the Patriots in the scouting department Matt Russell suggested to then GM Scott Pioli that the team should add USC quarterback Matt Cassel in the seventh-round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Cassel was then traded away to the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round pick in 2009. That move payed off for the Patriots and now Russell is the Director of Player Personnel for the Broncos.
Denver takes Zac Dysert in the seventh-round with hopes of developing him like the Patriots did with Cassel years ago. Cassel had zero experience in college at USC while Dysert has four years of starting experience with the Redhawks.
I watched Dysert from the sidelines at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. He had an up and down week of practice but showed how coachable he was each day. Dysert is a team first guy who wants to develop to his full potential. He has good accuracy on short and underneath routes, plus he can keep plays alive with his feet while keeping his eyes downfield. Dysert needs to throw with better velocity and make sure passes come out of his hand cleaner and with improved spin.
The Broncos needed to add a developmental quarterback prospect and that's what they get with Dysert. He's no threat to backup Brock Osweiler and will only be Denver's third-string guy in 2013.