Setting Career Expectations for Each Member of Denver Broncos' 2013 Draft Class
The team came to the draft with only six picks, but after trading back into the sixth round, they were able to recoup the pick they lost in the 2011 trade that saw them acquire Broderick Bunkley from Philadelphia.
The Broncos' draft was mostly free of flashy names, but several solid players were selected, especially considering where they were able to get them.
Here, we will take a look at what fans can expect out of these players over the course of their careers.
Sylvester Williams, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina
When the Broncos went on the clock in the first round at No. 28, there was likely a few players they were considering who they thought would be there. Sylvester Williams probably wasn't one of those.
Williams was considered a mid-first-round pick, and when he fell to Denver, they couldn't pass him up.
Though the team already has Kevin Vickerson and free-agent signing Terrance Knighton, the team felt that Williams was the best player available.
Williams is a defensive tackle who can beat a guard or center with either his speed or his strength.
He is exactly the type of player Denver needs as a defensive tackle because of his ability to rush the passer.
At 6'3" and 315 pounds, Williams is incredibly quick for his size. With the push he'll give up the middle, it will make outside pass-rushers such as Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and Shaun Phillips even more effective.
Williams is a player who should be an immediate starter in Denver and one who could make a long, successful career in the middle of their defense.
Montee Ball, Running Back, Wisconsin
Though no running backs were selected in the first round for the first time since 1963, the Broncos had to be happy to get Montee Ball in the second.
Ball is the NCAA's all-time leader in touchdowns scored (83) and rushing touchdowns (77).
During his junior and senior seasons, he put up statistics that seem hard to believe.
In those two years, Ball recorded 3,753 rushing yards with an astounding 55 touchdowns on the ground.
He carried the ball 663 times in those two seasons alone, proving he is a running back who can carry the load.
Ball joins a Denver backfield that includes Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman.
The Broncos are in search of a running back who can be consistent while staying healthy in 2013, and Ball should get his chance to do that.
If Ball shows Denver enough, it is possible they would cut ties with someone like Moreno.
Ball is a tough, physical runner who exhibits terrific vision. He will get his chance to contribute right away in Denver, and there is little doubt that he is the future running back for the Broncos.
Kayvon Webster, Cornerback, South Florida
The selection of cornerback Kayvon Webster may have been a surprise to some, as Webster didn't have a third-round grade on most draft boards. In fact, he wasn't even close to that.
Still, after watching the painful end to Denver's 2012 season at the hands of Baltimore, it was no secret that they would try to bolster the secondary.
Webster is a player the Broncos were very high on heading into the draft. At 5'10" and 195 pounds, he is a very physical corner, something that is becoming a trend in the NFL.
Webster's strong point is his tackling. That will help him earn playing time as he hones his developing coverage skills.
Webster may have been a reach in the third round, but he could be a solid contributor on special teams, much like David Bruton is.
Webster will likely have to show he can hang with NFL receivers to become a starter for the Broncos, but having guys like Champ Bailey and Chris Harris to learn from can only be a good thing.
Quanterus Smith, Defensive End, Western Kentucky
This may have been one of the more underrated picks of the entire draft.
The Broncos selected Quanterus Smith in the fourth round to add some depth on the defensive line as well as a player that was one of the best pass-rushers in the draft.
Smith finished his career at Western Kentucky with 24 sacks, 12 of which came in his senior season.
Smith has several moves that allow him to get to the quarterback. Smith is not just a pass-rush specialist, however, as he displays a strong knowledge of defending the run.
Robert Ayers is penciled in as the starter at defensive end opposite Derek Wolfe. Should Ayers falter—which he has, to this point in his career—Smith would be a prime candidate to step up.
Under defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Smith will be able to refine his skills as a defensive player. Don't be surprised to see him in the starting lineup sooner rather than later.
When the 2013 NFL draft is looked back on years down the road, Smith could look like one of the better picks not just for the Broncos, but of the entire draft.
Tavarres King, Wide Receiver, Georgia
The Broncos already have arguably the best wide receiver corps in the entire league with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker.
Those are some big names for Tavarres King to surround himself with, but he will have an opportunity to develop in a great system.
King was a solid, dependable receiver at Georgia and had nine touchdown catches as a senior.
King probably won't be a huge contributor immediately, but the Broncos will need production from a fourth receiver this season. King has every chance to be that guy.
Over the long term, King could find a niche in the league as a possession receiver, but he probably won't ever be the No.1 option for the Broncos.
Vinston Painter, Tackle, Virginia Tech
After trading back into the sixth round, the Broncos were able to find an offensive lineman who has a lot of potential.
Vinston Painter started his collegiate career as a defensive tackle before moving to the offensive line.
Painter is a strong, athletic lineman who should also be able to play many positions along the line.
Denver had one of the best offensive lines in the league last year, something that is a must with Peyton Manning at quarterback, but they do have some injury concerns.
Chris Kuper forced the team to turn to Manny Ramirez far too often in 2012, and with J.D. Walton hampered with an ankle injury, Dan Koppen was inserted as the starting center after Week 4.
Right tackle Orlando Franklin may be more effective as a guard, and ultimately, that could be Painter's destination.
Painter probably will start his Broncos career as a reserve, but he was drafted with an eye for the future and could very well be a long-term starter within a season or two.
Zac Dysert, Quarterback, Miami (OH)
With their final pick of the draft, the Broncos saw that several quarterbacks remained on the board.
This was another case of Denver taking a player they felt should have gone much higher, as some felt Dysert could be as high as a third-round selection.
He was a four-year starter in college and displayed the ability to make almost every NFL throw. He is also a deceiving runner, showing the ability to scramble for first downs.
He isn't fast, but he is a lot like Aaron Rodgers, making something out of nothing when plays break down.
Dysert isn't ready to be a starter at the NFL level yet, but the Broncos grabbed another player they can develop behind one of the best players at that position.
After drafting Brock Osweiler last year, some fans may not have expected the Broncos to bring in another quarterback. They only had two on the roster, though, and taking a guy like Dysert in the seventh round is a no-risk, all-reward move.
Peyton Manning has two or three years left in the league. When he decides to call it a career, expect Osweiler and Dysert to square off in an open competition with the winner becoming the quarterback of the future.
The advantage for that has to go to Osweiler, at least right now. But Dysert is capable of unseating him if that scenario comes to fruition.