With the twenty-seventh pick in the 2013 NFL Draft the Houston Texans select DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson.
Next we address the 28th pick in the draft - The Denver Broncos are on the clock.
#28 Denver Broncos. Needs - CB, S, MLB. The Denver Broncos were the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. They earned that spot by being the most complete team in the AFC over the course of the 2012 season. But it was all for nothing as the Ravens capitalized on poor play by the Denver secondary to pull out an improbable overtime victory in the Mile High City.
The Broncos, led by the incomparable Peyton Manning, were second only to the Patriots in scoring last season, averaging a whopping 30 points per game. Denver's O-line did a fantastic job of keeping Peyton's jersey clean, ranking 2nd in the NFL in sacks allowed with 21 on the year. A clean and comfortable Manning resulted in a 5th ranked passing offense for the Broncos. The one area the Broncos did struggle in was their running game, which was 16th in rushing yards gained. While the Broncos clearly favored the pass, thus reducing their rushing yards in the process, they were below average in average yards per carry which indicates more than just being pass-happy as a reason for their struggles running the ball. The O-line proved in 2011 it could run block really well, and the run game dropped off after McGahee was injured, so perhaps the RB corps isn't up to par.
The Broncos defense matched their offensive counterparts stride for stride in 2012. They tied with the Rams for most sacks with 52. They were the 3rd ranked defense vs. both the pass and the run, and finished 2nd overall. Their rush defense was second only to Tampa in yards allowed per carry (3.6 yds./carry). The Broncos defense was 4th in points allowed, giving up a mere 18 points per contest last season. Denver finished in the middle of the pack (16th) in takeaways, with 24 on the year.
The Broncos secondary let them down against the Ravens. The pressure their front 7 put on opposing QBs masked their deficiencies in coverage for much of the season. Their defense is also predicated on Champ Bailey being able to cover the opposing team's #1 WR without help. The Ravens O-line protected Flacco, Torrey Smith made Champ look like a Chump, and the rest of the secondary couldn't adjust. Bailey will be 35 next season and can't be counted on so heavily going forward. The Broncos need improved play at Safety, as the late TD pass vs. the Ravens excruciatingly reminded them. Safety Jim Leonhard is a free agent, and they need to draft Bailey's successor. Keith Brooking manned the MLB position well for Denver in 2012, but he'll be 38 next season and can't be counted on. Denver could use another RB, as McGahee will be 32 this year, is coming off yet another injury, and has only played a full season 3 times in his 10 year career. Center Dan Koppen is a free agent and will be 34 this year. Do they take his successor here? A team can never have enough DTs, especially one as thin at the position as Denver. Some highly touted DTs are still on the board. Who do they take? You decide.
Picks so far:
#1 Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
#2 Jacksonville Jaguars - Bjoern Warner, DE, FSU
#3 Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
#4 Philadelphia Eagles - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
#5 Detroit Lions - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
#6 Cleveland Browns - Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
#7 Arizona Cardinals - Geno Smith, QB, WVU
#8 Buffalo Bills - Mike Glennon, QB, NC St.
#9 New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
#10 Tennessee Titans - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio St.
#11 San Diego Chargers - Eric Fisher, OT, CMU
#12 Miami Dolphins - Keenan Allen, WR, California
#13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi St.
#14 Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
#15 New Orleans Saints - John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
#16 St. Louis Rams - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
#17 Pittsburgh Steelers - Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
#18 Dallas Cowboys - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
#19 New York Giants - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
#20 Chicago Bears - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
#21 Cincinnati Bengals - Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
#22 St. Louis Rams - Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
#23 Minnesota Vikings - Terrance Williams, WR,Baylor
#24 Indianapolis Colts - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB,Oregon
#25 Seattle Seahawks - Sam Montgomery, DE,LSU
#26 Green Bay Packers - Johnathan Cooper, G, UNC
#27 Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson