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Evaluating the Draft

Posted Apr 29, 2013

A look at what the analysts are saying about the Broncos’ overall draft.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – With the 2013 NFL Draft in the books, early grades are in from media outlets across the country.

Of the 10 evaluations that are compiled below, the Broncos’ draft GPA stands at 2.60. The highest grade the team received was a B and the lowest was a C.

The most popular grade was a B, with five writers assigning that grade. One gave the team a B-minus, two weighed in with a C-plus and two rounded it out with a C.

Below is a summary of the grades:

B

Floyd Engel, FoxSports.com

With running backs free-falling in this draft, there were steals to be had later. John Elway got one of those in Montee Ball.

Alex Marvez, FoxSports.com

The Broncos have 1,000 pounds of beef at defensive tackle with first-round pick Sylvester Williams joining projected starters Kevin Vickerson and Terrance Knighton in the rotation. Wisconsin’s Ball has a legitimate chance to start at running back.

Rob Rang, CBSSports.com

First-round pick Sylvester Williams' quickness and overall athleticism stunned talent evaluators who watched him at the UNC Pro Day, and he has certainly flashed playmaking ability for the Tar Heels. His motor, however, was too inconsistent for many. I've compared Montee Ball to Curtis Martin, so I'm clearly high on his talent. And, considering how much John Fox loves running the ball, Ball has the opportunity to be successful immediately. He's a workhorse who left Wisconsin as the NCAA leader in touchdowns, but I wonder how much tread he has left on his tires. I like cornerback Kayvon Webster's athleticism but thought there were more pro-ready defensive backs still on the board. On the other hand, I really liked Denver's picks on the third day. Wideout Tavarres King and offensive tackle Vinston Painter are legitimate talents, as is pass rusher Quanterus Smith, who will prove a steal if he recovers fully from a torn ACL.

Nate Davis, USA Today

DT Sylvester "Sly" Williams fell into their laps at No. 28 and should step into the starting lineup. Second-round RB Montee Ball could be a clock killer, while their final choice, QB Zac Dysert, might just push QB Brock Osweiler behind Peyton Manning. And if you missed it, the pass rush got some help with the arrival of veteran Shaun Phillips.

Jeff Legwold, The Denver Post

They signed free agent Shaun Phillips to beef up the pass rush. First-round draft pick Sylvester Williams is a walk-in starter at DT, even for a 13-3 team. RB Montee Ball will get plenty of carries and DE Quanterus Smith should contribute. CB Kayvon Webster is a fast, tough player, but he was a reach in the third round.

B-Minus

Mel Kiper, ESPN.com

Sylvester Williams was one of the better values of the first round. I could have seen him go as high as No. 14 to Carolina, and Denver got him all the way down at No. 28. (In fact, I felt it really hurt the Cowboys, who could have taken him at No. 31.) Denver is a good team, so getting a potential impact starter in Round 1 is good value. Defensive tackle was one of the top needs I had for the Broncos. Where they need more, however, is in the pass rush after losing Elvis Dumervil. Quanterus Smith could be a sleeper, but he won't help the pass rush in 2013 between the jump in competition and recovery from an ACL tear last season. Montee Ball has a lot of wear on the tires, but why should we be worried about his playing career window when Peyton Manning is at this age. Denver needs to win now; I had RB among its needs and Ball transitions easily. Kayvon Webster is technically a need pick at CB, but he was a big reach. I had him ranked No. 34 among corners, and they took him in Round 3. Tavarres King could help if he can become more consistent, and Zac Dysert can get better just hauling Manning's luggage around.

C-Plus

Chris Burke, SI.com

It sort of goes without saying since immediate draft grades are pure guesswork, but I have no clue what will happen with this Denver class. DT Sylvester Williams ought to see plenty of run, but is RB Montee Ball going to fit in this offense? Will DE Quanterus Smith come back healthy? What’s with that third-round pick of CB Kayvon Webster? Interesting draft here, to say the least. 

Pete Prisco, CBSsports.com

Best pick: It was their first one, taking power DT Sylvester Williams to play inside. He can be a force.

Questionable move: I would not have taken Montee Ball in the second round. They could have landed a back later. I know it's a need pick, but that's too high.

Third-day gem: If fifth-round pick Quanterus Smith can bounce back from his torn ACL, they have landed a nice pass rusher. He did some good things against big-time competition.

Analysis: Williams was a nice need pick, but the rest of their draft wasn't as good as I expected. They could hit on some late-round picks, but it wasn't a great haul.

C

Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com:

They stuck to their board and got a talented player on the first day in Williams. I’m not as high on Ball as others are. At Wisconsin, he had nearly 1,000 carries and nearly 400 in 2012 alone. There’s wear on the tires there and he’s by no means a speed back. Who’s going to rush the quarterback alongside Von Miller? Elvis Dumervil’s departure leaves a giant void.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

They started with a bang, North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, but the rest of their haul included plenty of reaches. Wisconsin's Montee Ball is a good runner, but he wasn't worthy of a second-rounder based on what they had. They also threw darts at South Florida cornerback Kayvon Webster and Western Kentucky defensive end Quanterus Smith. It's good they can win a Super Bowl with their established veteran core.