Re-Drafting Denver Broncos 2013 Draft
There are less than two weeks until the 2014 NFL draft, but there is always time to look back on past draft classes.
Last year at this time, the Denver Broncos were trying to piece together a team that would help make a run at the Super Bowl. This year, they are looking to assemble a team to get back there.
While the Broncos' 2013 draft class was only slightly responsible for the team reaching the Super Bowl (only three of their seven draft picks played in a game), every pick in the draft is important.
Having the benefit of hindsight, we will look back at the 2013 draft and see what the Broncos would do differently. Would they still take the same players? Only players that were still on the board when the Broncos made their selection were considered as a different selection.
Click forward to see how different the Broncos' 2013 draft could have been.
First Round: Alec Ogletree, Linebacker
Actual Pick: Sylvester Williams, Defensive Tackle
Sylvester Williams still has a great opportunity to blossom into a productive player for the Broncos, so it's hard to call him a bad pick. However, they just didn't need him last season.
He seemed like he was slow to adjust to his new surroundings and made only 19 tackles on the season. Kevin Vickerson and Terrance Knighton were the starting defensive tackles, and Mitch Unrein even saw more playing time.
Meanwhile, the team is still in search of an aggressive middle linebacker.
The St. Louis Rams found Alec Ogletree at No. 30 after Denver selected Williams two picks earlier. While the Rams had the luxury of moving Ogletree to the outside, the Broncos could have easily made him their starting middle linebacker for years to come.
Ogletree had 117 tackles as a rookie to go along with 1.5 sacks, one interception and six forced fumbles.
Second Round: Eddie Lacy, Running Back
Actual Pick: Montee Ball, Running Back
The Broncos wanted a running back in the second round last year, and they found one in the form of Montee Ball. Much like Williams, that wasn't necessarily a bad pick, but the Green Bay Packers found the rookie of the year just three picks later—at the same position.
Lacy ran for nearly 1,200 yards on the ground as a rookie, scoring 11 touchdowns. On top of that, he added 35 receptions.
With his physical running style and his ability to catch the ball, he would have been a perfect fit for the Denver offense.
Ball may be able to give the Broncos similar numbers, but that remains to be seen.
Third Round: Kayvon Webster, Cornerback
Actual Pick: Kayvon Webster
This is one pick the Broncos would stick with.
Yes, Kayvon Webster had his struggles as a rookie, but with injuries to players like Champ Bailey and Chris Harris, the Broncos had to force Webster into action earlier than they would have liked.
Webster now realizes the level it will take to compete in the NFL, and he will get his chances early and often in 2014.
He has the ability to succeed.
Fifth Round: Quanterus Smith, Defensive End
Actual Pick: Quanterus Smith
Unfortunately, Quanterus Smith had a very forgettable rookie season. He was injured before the regular season started and was lost for the year.
But based on his incredible athleticism, as well as his ability to get to the quarterback, the Broncos would select him all over again.
During his college career at Western Kentucky, Smith racked up 24 sacks, including 12.5 as a senior. The Broncos will be relying on him to do that in 2014, and that is likely part of the reason they allowed Shaun Phillips to leave via free agency.
All Smith needs to do now is stay healthy.
Fifth Round: Eric Kush, Center
Actual Pick: Tavarres King, Wide Receiver
Denver had their its share of troubles at the center position last season, starting with an injury in training camp to Dan Koppen.
Manny Ramirez came in and played the position all year for the Broncos, but he isn't the best option out there, and he isn't the center of the future for this team.
King was selected out of Georgia, and despite a respectable training camp, the Broncos chose not to keep him on their final roster. He was later waived in October after being placed on the practice squad.
Instead of a player that never played a down for the team, the Broncos could have gone with Eric Kush who played for California (Pa.) in Division II.
Kush is a tough young player who came from a strong college program. He could have sat behind Ramirez as a rookie and earned his way into the starting lineup.
Instead, Kush now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he could become the team's starting center in 2014.
Sixth Round: Andre Ellington, Running Back
Actual Pick: Vinston Painter, Tackle
Vinston Painter was another player who was relegated to the practice squad as a rookie, and it remains to be seen if he'll ever make an impact within the team's offensive line.
Andre Ellington, on the other hand, did make an impact as a rookie.
Playing in for the Arizona Cardinals, Ellington made the most of each opportunity he was given, totally outshining starting running back Rashard Mendenhall in the process.
Ellington is a very fast, exciting player who can make plays that result in huge chunks of yardage both running the ball and catching it.
As a rookie, he had 652 yards rushing and 371 yards receiving. He turned 21 of his 29 receptions into a first down.
Imagine if Denver was able to obtain both Eddie Lacy and Ellington last year? Yes, they had Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman, but those two rookies would have made one heck of a combination.
The Cardinals were actually able to obtain Ellington 14 picks after Denver chose Painter.
Seventh Round: Zac Dysert, Quarterback
Actual Pick: Zac Dysert
If they had it to do again, they would.
There is no timetable on how long Peyton Manning will be the team's starting quarterback, but it would be hard to see him leave without helping the team earn at least one championship.
Regardless of when that happens, the Broncos must have a plan in place. Many expect that to be Brock Osweiler, but there's no reason Dysert couldn't beat him out.
If nothing else, the Broncos may have an enticing piece of trade bait that other teams could come calling for.