There’s no other way to put it, except to say that John Elway and the Denver Broncos front office absolutely killed it in 2013. They’ve nailed it.
Obviously, putting pieces together since Elway joined the team in 2011 and picked Von Miller, Orlando Franklin, Rahim Moore, Julius Thomas, among others all the way to signing guys like Peyton Manning in 2012, and Louis Vasquez in 2013–Elway has outdone himself.
Perhaps as quickly as he became a sensation on the football field, Elway has proven to be more than just a baseball player on the side. He’s a heck of a businessman and he has an eye for talent.
Getting Manning and Von Miller was merely the beginning for Elway, who lured Wes Welker out of New England, and Louis Vasquez out of San Diego. Both Manning and Vasquez were first-team All Pros in 2013, and Welker had 10 touchdowns–a career high–in his first season with the Broncos.
But it isn’t just limited to the big names. Elway drafted Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and Trevathan led the team in tackles in 2013. He signed Terrance Knighton for two years, under $5 million. How did that pickup turnout?
Elway picked up bargain free agents like Shaun Phillips, who led the team in sacks, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who has re-established himself as a number one cornerback in the NFL.
In 2013 specifically, Elway brought in guys to make this Denver Broncos Super Bowl dream a reality, including a couple of rookies who are playing huge roles down the stretch.
Sylvester Williams has taken over a starting role next to Terrance Knighton on the interior of Denver’s defense, and Montee Ball is seeing significant carries after having some fumbling problems throughout the year.
I asked the question on Twitter, “Who was the Broncos’ best pickup in 2013?” and the overwhelming consensus was that it was Vasquez, the All-Pro.
That’s tough to argue, but here’s a look at guys that were brought in this year who have made a huge impact.
DE Shaun Phillips
Led the team in sacks.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Established as the Broncos’ number one CB, typically covers opposing team’s #1 receiver
DT Terrance Knighton
Helped revitalize Denver’s run defense. Dominated in the AFC Championship game.
WR Wes Welker
Slot receiver who had 1o touchdowns despite missing a quarter of the season with concussion issues.
OG Louis Vasquez
First free agent signed by Denver proved he is one of the best young offensive linemen in the game.
DT Sylvester Williams; RB Montee Ball; CB Kayvon Webster; LB Paris Lenon