The Denver Broncos went into the 2013 NFL Draft with picks in every round except the sixth, which was previously dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles. Before the draft ended, they had acquired addition picks at the end of the draft between round six and seven, by trading with Green Bay, handing over their fourth round pick. Unfortunately for Broncos' fans, what the team needed and what they drafted were to completely different sets of ideas. The wait is over, let's grade each player that will be entering the 2013 season as a Broncos rookie.
Sylvester Williams was rated as a top 5 defensive tackle, and selected to help take up the slack of the departed Elvis Dumervil to Baltimore. Conditioning will always be a question, along with his motor. Some view him as a one-dimensional lineman. The upside for Williams, is that he will have plenty of opportunity to learn and grow from new teammates Kevin Vickerson and Terrance Knighton, the Broncos will quickly figure out if they made the right selection.
Player Grade: C+
Depth at running back was another huge concern for the Broncos, and probably should've been their first round priority. It wasn't, and instead of selecting any number of quality backs who ranked higher on the NFL Draft Insider Running Backs Board, they selected a high-mileage, concussion prone runner in Wisconsin's Montee Ball. One of the many knocks on Ball is his inability to pass block. John Fox is not going to risk his fragile, aging superstar quarterback in Peyton Manning to a rookie who can't pick up the blitz. Ball will most likely slot in behind Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno until he proves he can handle an NFL workload.
Player Grade: D+
Champ Bailey isn't going to play forever, and Denver drafted a cornerback with their third round selection. Unfortunately, it was a player who most likely had no business being drafted in Kayvon Webster out of South Florida. He wasn't mentioned on most pre-draft boards, and there were at least ten better players such as Utah State's Will Davis who would've fit the Broncos' needs better. Wasted pick this early in the draft. Most likely a nickel and dime back, along with special teams, the Broncos missed big time with this selection.
Player Grade: F
Probably realizing they may have jumped the gun and picked the wrong player in the first round, the Broncos added another defensive tackle in the fifth round, and this writer's opinion, was the best pick of their entire draft. Quanterus Smith out of Western Kentucky is undersized, but he is a football player. An incredibly high level of intelligence and has a motor that will not quit. Smith will push first rounder Williams, and if heart and determination have anything to say, he should see more playing time. With his size, he might find himself being moved out to end, as the Broncos need a replacement for Dumervil.
Player Grade: B
Denver is always looking to add firepower on the offensive side of the football, and that was evident by the signing of Wes Welker. The Broncos wanted some young blood added to the wide receiver core, and drafted Georgia's Tavarras King with their second pick of the fifth round. Here again, there were better prospects on the board, and John Elway ignored them all. King is very average across the board, never fully living up to expectations following the likes of A.J. Green in Athens. Most likely a lower end receiver with not much to contribute, he could end up a practice squad guy by the end of camp.
Player Grade: D-
One of the most confusing selections not just for the Broncos, but the entire draft was offensive tackle Vinston Painter from Va. Tech. Denver's offensive line is one of the best in football, and it would've been in the Broncos best interest to fill depth needs through free agency. Painter was moved from defense where he was a tackle to offense during his senior year. He is undersized and cannot play tackle in the NFL, and will most likely be moved to one of the guard positions. Like fellow draftee Webster, a complete waste of a draft selection.
Player Grade: F
Finally in the last round for the Broncos, came the most boneheaded pick of their entire draft, and there were many, when the Broncos selected quarterback Zac Dysert out of Miami of Ohio. Slow feet and a big arm are about all this kid brings to the table. He has absolutely no chance of ever starting an NFL game for the Broncos, and Denver once again wasted a precious draft pick on a non-factor player when holes remained to be filled.
Player Grade: F
The entire feel of the draft for the Denver Broncos felt unprepared, and shoot from the hip in style. The secondary was exposed to the point of embarrassment during their playoff choke job to the Baltimore Ravens, and they did nothing to improve themselves in the defensive backfield. Some say John Elway knows what he's doing, and that outsiders cannot criticize his thought process. A quick reminder, it was Elway who drafted Ronnie Hillman, the running back who continued to get stuffed on third and short for the season, along with the defensive backs who continued to get burned, helping Joe Flacco earn a big time contract at season's end. As a great former coach of mine used to say: “Don't tell me, show me.”
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