With the 173rd pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Denver Broncos added quality depth to their offensive line by acquiring Vinston Painter from Virginia Tech. This move is for depth today, but with proper development the Broncos may have added a potential starter either at right tackle or guard.
During the pre-draft process Painter impressed scouts with his incredible athleticism. He ran a 4.95 40-yard dash and benched 32 reps of 225 pounds at the Hokies pro day. Some thought he would be overdrafted because of these numbers, but the Broncos instead got Painter at a cheap price in the sixth round.
He showed up at Virginia Tech as a defensive tackle but moved to the offensive side of the ball in his freshman year. A highly recruited high school player, Painter never seemed to play up to his enormous potential. He did have a standout year as a senior, and he could get even better at the pro level.
Painter moves well for a big man (306 pounds) and has good first-step technique. He can handle edge rushers because he sets up quickly and establishes his base before defenders get to their first move.
As a run-blocker, Painter needs some work. He's got the functional strength to be an effective power blocker, but he needs to play with more of a mean streak.
When edge rushers have a second move, Painter can become frustrated. He seems to get down on himself when beat and needs to show more mental toughness in the NFL. When facing a tougher foe Painter will sometimes abandon his technique and lose leverage. This only adds to the frustration as he'll then be playing out of control. Painter needs to learn better patience and how to have a short memory when beat.
A versatile player, Painter can play outside at right tackle or he can move inside to play guard. This quality could help him get on the field quicker and gives him added value on the roster.
The Broncos have a quality offensive line. They improved their talent up front when they added guard Louis Vasquez earlier this offseason. Painter may not make the starting lineup this year, but he should be a quality reserve player.
Guard Zane Beadles is a free agent in 2014, and the team may not be able to keep him around. If the Broncos lose Beadles in free agency, then Painter could be asked to step in and compete for the starting job.