The Denver Broncos are set to play in Super Bowl XLVIII this Sunday. They have built a solid foundation through the NFL draft. In addition to the draft, they have done a good job adding (or retaining) key free agents.
They haven’t hit paydirt yet with their selections in the 2013 NFL draft.
Defensive Tackle Sylvester Williams has taken time (as expected) to get going at the pro level. His rookie season started off slowly, but he’s been producing at a higher level since the injury to Kevin Vickerson.
Running Back Montee Ball did not win the starting job in training camp. In fact, he was not used much in the rotation early in the season after fumbling issues caused him to fall out of favor with the coaching staff. As the season went on, he held onto the rock and was more decisive as a runner. He is likely to be the lead back in 2014 if the Broncos let Knowshon Moreno walk in free agency.
Cornerback Kayvon Webster started a handful of games for the Broncos this year as their nickel corner. The rookie struggled most of the time, failing to keep up with receivers on downfield routes. He showed the knack for making a big hit, but too often he failed to wrap up his target.
Cornerbacks take some time to develop at the pro level, and Webster is far from a bust. He’s just a young player who needed to go through growing pains in the NFL.
Other picks from 2013 like linebacker Quanterus Smith, offensive tackle Vinston Painter and quarterback Zac Dysert didn’t see the field this year for various reasons. Fifth-round pick wide receiver Tavarres King was released and picked up by the Carolina Panthers in the middle of the season.
The Broncos continued their streak of adding undrafted free agents who made the final roster when they kept running back C.J. Anderson around. He will compete for more playing time next year, and he showed the ability to be an effective pro back on limited carries this year.
John Elway and director of player personnel Matt Russell are feverishly preparing for the 2014 NFL draft. Here are a few players they should consider at several positions of need.