IDEAL DRAFT RANGE: For cornerbacks this year, the sweet spots appear to be the middle to the end of the first round and the first part of the third day. What cornerbacks will remain for the Broncos at the 31st pick will depend on whether there's a run on them, perhaps between the 15th and 26th overall selections.
But it also depends what a team seeks. If looking for speed without necessarily seeking size, a team should be able to satisfy its needs in the middle rounds.
At safety, there appear to be few prospects for the second day. Alabama's Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, Louisville's Calvin Pryor and Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward could hear their names called on the first day, but there might not be another safety run until the draft's final day, when there will be more depth and value.
RECENT BRONCOS HISTORY: Last year's selection of cornerback
But while the Broncos have added a high volume of defensive backs, they haven't found them atop the draft in 13 years. After selecting cornerbacks Deltha O'Neal and Willie Middlebrooks in 2000 and 2001, respectively, they haven't taken a defensive back in the first round since.
A combination of draft issues and injuries forced the Broncos to adapt last year. The Broncos' starting defensive backfield in the postseason included no draft picks; the two homegrown defensive backs who started in the playoffs were undrafted signees as rookies:
The Broncos have gotten more from their four defensive backs taken from 2011 onward; two have been starters (safeties
Few teams have been better at finding undrafted cornerbacks than the Broncos. Harris's emergence speaks for itself; he has become one of the game's best slot cornerbacks, but also fares well playing outside. In the last decade, the Broncos got solid play from Lenny Walls and Kelly Herndon; in 2003, they were the Broncos' primary starting combination, and made up for the struggles of O'Neal and Middlebrooks. But the Broncos still needed an alpha dog cornerback, and found that in trading for Champ Bailey the following offseason.
BRONCOS OUTLOOK: Injuries to Bailey, Harris, Webster and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last year showed why the Broncos need quality, experienced depth. By the AFC Championship Game, they had Bailey back, but had lost Harris and were limited on their use of Webster, which forced
But planning for the future could make cornerback a priority next week. Free-agent pickup
At safety, any focus is likely to be on the long term. Rahim Moore, recovering from compartment syndrome, is a natural fit alongside new pickup