After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The Denver Broncos.
What they needed: Defensive end, defensive tackle, running back, cornerback, wide receiver.
Who they got:
Round 1: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina.
Round 2: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin.
Round 3: Kayvon Webster, CB, South Florida.
Round 5: Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky.
Round 5: Tavarres King, WR, Georgia.
Round 6: Vinston Palmer, OT, Virginia Tech.
Round 7: Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (Ohio).
Where they hit: The Broncos did well to address needs. Williams is likely to push early for playing time in the middle of the defensive line. Ball is a sure-handed, productive, tough addition to a backfield that has some durability concerns. Webster and Smith add depth at valuable positions and have upside.
Where they missed: The Broncos increased their options at every position group that needed a little more help. They even got some important work done on the final day of the draft, potentially bolstering their pass rush with Smith, who had 12.5 sacks in 2012 before suffering an ACL tear in November; and veteran free-agent outside linebacker Shaun Phillips, who led the Chargers with 9.5 sacks a season ago. The Broncos don’t need Smith to play major snaps this year and figure to be patient as he recovers. Smith, for his part, says he will be healthy enough to participate at the start of training camp, according to the Denver Post.
Impact rookies: Ball is likely to get an opportunity to play early, but Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman all have experience in the Broncos’ offense — and experience working with Peyton Manning. Those are edges the veteran backs carry into training camp. Ball needs to be a quick study if he is to consistently play important snaps in Year One. The same can be said for Williams, but the Broncos’ first-round pick looks to have less hurdles in his way as he vies for a starting spot.
Long-term prospects: Williams and Ball have a chance to be key cogs for Denver in Year One. In the longer term, Webster, Smith and King all could also emerge as contributors, too, as each joins a position that could have some personnel turnover in 2014. The defending AFC West champions have had a productive offseason and again look formidable.