ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –If you combine the speed of a wide receiver with the physicality of a linebacker, you probably end up with a pretty good football player.
That's what the Broncos are counting on with third-round draft pick Kayvon Webster, who converted from a linebacker/wide receiver in high school to a physical cornerback at the University of South Florida.
"I started playing cornerback when I got to college," Webster said. "I had never played that until I stepped on USF's campus. Until then, I had played wide receiver and linebacker at the same time."
That position change didn't come as a shock to the 5-11, 198-pound player, who realized he didn't have the size to play linebacker at the Division-I level.
Many of the recruiting scouting services projected Webster as a safety. Rivals.com ranked him the 28th-best safety in the country while Scout.com had him pegged at No. 29 among safeties.
But it was a college coach that opened Webster's eyes to the possibility of playing cornerback.
"It wasn't a surprise," he said. "I was undersized as a linebacker. In high school I was 180 (pounds) and I had the speed of a corner. My first offer came from South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, he had asked me to play corner. That triggered it into my mind that at the next level, I'd be in the secondary, whether at safety or at corner. I just had my mind focused on being the best at it, whichever position they put me in."
At South Florida, Webster excelled as a versatile cornerback who could play in coverage as well as step up and help against the run.
He totaled 136 tackles with 8.5 of those coming behind the line of scrimmage during his college career. As a senior, he led the team with 82 tackles to go with a pair of sacks, four tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
"I think my physical nature came from when I was younger," Webster said. "I played linebacker in high school. I always was inside the box and I always had to tackle so I think that's where I get my tackling skills from. I pride myself in making the play."
While he is still getting used to the nuances of playing the cornerback position, Webster welcomes the challenge of competing at the NFL level. Whether it's covering a speedy wideout, playing inside against a tight end or stepping up in the run game, Webster plans to help in any way the coaches ask of him.
"I'm willing to step up to the challenge of being able to cover tight ends as well as stepping into the box to tackle running backs," Webster said. "I'm going to try to be the best corner I can be for them and contribute to the team as best as possible."