The first round of the 2013 NFL draft is in the books.
The Denver Broncos stayed put at No. 28 and selected the top player on their board, just as they said they would. Their pick was North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, a player John Elway says the team was not expecting to fall to them.
"The Denver Broncos took a chance on me at [pick No.] 28. At the end of the day I’m the 28th pick in the draft, and I’m going to come in and give the Denver Broncos everything I got," Williams said after the draft (quotes provided courtesy of Denver's media department.
Going into Day 2 of the draft, whom should the Broncos target in the second and third rounds? Let's take a look.
Yeah, that guy.
He fell out of the first round, which will make him a hot prospect on Day 2. Or will it?
The media was hyping the possibility of Te’o landing either with the Chicago Bears or Minnesota Vikings on Day 1, but few teams seemed interested in the former Notre Dame linebacker in the first round.
Maybe teams don’t have him as high on their draft boards as all of the draftniks? If teams continue to pass on Te’o in the second round, the Broncos would probably be tempted to select him 58th overall (if he falls that far).
Only time will tell.
Lacy fell out of the first round. Might he fall all the way to the Broncos (No. 58) in the second? That seems unlikely, but the Broncos could move up to select him early in the second.
But moving up would not be an ideal situation for the team—it only has five draft picks remaining. If he continues to fall, Lacy is a no-brainer. But if the team would have to move up to select him, don’t expect him to land in Denver.
Last season at Alabama, Lacy rushed 204 times for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns. He would be a perfect fit in Peyton Manning's offense, (just don't tell Andy McNeil I said so).
Bell is an ideal third-round target that the Broncos will consider at No. 90 (if he is still on the board). Denver met with Bell twice leading up to the draft and was impressed with his versatility.
Willis McGahee is aging quickly and John Elway has made no mention of Knowshon Moreno when referencing Denver’s plans at running back. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team address the position on Day 2.
When I asked Bell last week if he viewed himself as a potential fit in Denver's offense, he responded:
“Most definitely. Being a RB having Peyton Manning, it makes things a lot easier, you don’t have to run in a tight box, he opens things up for you. I think that would be a great situation for me.”
Last season at Michigan State, Bell rushed 382 times for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns.
If Bell slides into the third round, the Broncos will not let him slide into the fourth (assuming that Denver does not take another RB—like, say, Eddie Lacy—before the third round).
The Broncos are headed for training camp with Steven Johnson and Nate Irving set to compete for the starting MLB position this summer. Outside of Denver, Johnson and Irving are little-known players, but they both have potential.
A third option is Kevin Minter, LSU’s middle linebacker who recorded 55 tackles and three sacks last season.
Minter is not expected to fall all the way to No. 58, but the Broncos didn’t expect Williams to fall to them in the first round, either. Anything is possible.
Champ Bailey is about to turn 35 and within a few years, he will probably be moved to safety. Chris Harris is a rising star, but the team likes him as its nickel corner (probably because of his height) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, as exciting as he can be, is similar in some cases to Tracy Porter.
DCR is a high-risk, high-reward type player. He’ll make several big plays, but he’ll also allow a few deep passes on occasion.
If DCR ultimately doesn’t work out, the Broncos will have Harris covering the slot, Bailey (eventually) back at safety and no No. 1 and No. 2 cornerbacks on the roster (unless Omar Bolden and Tony Carter both have phenomenal 2013 seasons and secure those two starting gigs, which is unlikely to happen).
Two potential defensive backs the Broncos can target on Day 2 are Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks and Boise State’s Jamar Taylor. Last season, Banks had four interceptions, and Taylor had three.
Somewhere in the draft, expect the Broncos to select a cornerback. Perhaps even as high as the second round.
When John Elway took over as V.P. of football operations for the Broncos two years ago, defensive line was one of the team’s weakest links. After drafting Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and Sylvester Williams (in addition to re-signing Kevin Vickerson and landing Terrance Knighton in free agency), Denver’s front four is in much better shape.
Miller, of course, is an outside linebacker, but he plays with his hand on the ground a lot. Wolfe will play defensive end on the opposite side of Miller, with Robert Ayers currently penciled in at right defensive end.
At tackle, Williams will likely rotate with Vickerson and Knighton. The Broncos can get creative with their three quality tackles, perhaps moving Williams to DE on occasion to have Vickerson, Knighton, Wolfe and Williams all on the field at the same time.
But Williams is a true defensive tackle, so the team will not want him rushing off the edge frequently. That’s where LSU’s Sam Montgomery comes into play.
Montgomery may still be on the board when the Broncos select 58th in the second round—such a selection would be a great value pick. Montgomery totaled seven sacks last season and could help replace Elvis Dumervil's production at defensive end this season.
Enjoy the second and third rounds today, folks. Whom do you want to see Denver target?