ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --In the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Broncos added a pair of players that have one great thing in common: breakout performances against the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
In Week 2 of the 2012 NCAA season, defensive end Quanterus Smith of Western Kentucky terrorized the Alabama offensive line with three sacks, including one that forced a fumble. That stat line looks even more impressive with the note that three 'Bama offensive linemen have been drafted – two of them going as the 10th and 11th overall picks.
"That was a big game for me, playing against Alabama," Smith recalled after being selected. "I think it helped my draft stock out a lot due to the fact I couldn't perform in the postseason, the combine and all-star game, so it helped me in a big way. But as far as the game, it was a good game for me."
The end-of-season absence that Smith referred to was due to a knee injury suffered on Nov. 17. At the time, he was leading the NCAA in sacks per game (1.25) with 12.5 total. He still went on to be named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The 146th overall pick told Denver media he doesn't expect to miss any practice time for the Broncos due to the injury.
"I'll be ready to go by training camp," he said. "I'm going through the rehab process right now. I feel real good on it, confident on it, so I'm excited and I'll be ready for training camp."
The Broncos' second selection in the fifth round was spent on Georgia wideout Tavarres King. Like his new teammate Smith, King showed up in a big way against the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2012. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver led his team with five grabs for a game-high 142 yards, vaulting him into fourth place on Georgia's career receiving yards list. His 21 career touchdown catches were the third-most in school history.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway tweeted on King, the 161st overall pick: "Tavarres King of Georgia is a dynamic wide receiver with speed and a lot of upside. Pleased he was still on our board."
A proven asset in Georgia's pro-style offense, King hopes to play a significant role in Denver's receiving corps for years to come.
"I think that my route running and my game as a receiver is very polished," King said. "I think that I'll be a weapon for the Broncos. I think that I'll be somebody that the Broncos can depend on and count on to get the job done week in and week out."