Nov 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Kayvon Webster (36) breaks up a pass in the end zone to San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown (86) during first half action at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Where Does Kayvon Webster Fit In The Broncos Defense?

When the Denver Broncos selected South Florida cornerback, Kayvon Webster, in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft, many people had to hit Google to find out who he was. Drafting him in the 3rd brought many words of derision from the Draftnik community. The word “reach” was used to describe the selection.

Despite this skepticism, the Broncos were confident in the young cover man. At 5’11, 198lbs, Webster has ideal size for his position. He’s long and strong. He plays corner with a physicality and tenacity that the Broncos love. It also didn’t hurt that he’s a ferocious hitter and isn’t afraid to mix it up and make a tackle, although sometimes he focuses too much on making the big hit and doesn’t wrap up the ball carrier.

Going into the 2013 season, no one really expected Webster to see much action on the Broncos defense. Coming off of another All-Pro season in 2012, Champ Bailey was poised to have another top shelf outing. Chris Harris, Jr, the NFL’s best slot corner, was firmly entrenched in his role as CB3 and the newly signed, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, was locked in as the team’s CB2.

When Champ Bailey went down with a foot injury in the pre-season, that reshuffled the deck and Kayvon Webster was thrust into action. Probably a bit prematurely.

Like most rookies, Webster had his ups and downs. He saw 487 snaps on defense. There were times when he looked very good. Down the stretch, however, savvy veteran QBs began to single him out and pick on him. Webster did fight through an injury but by week 16, the Broncos had replaced him with “Sticky Man”, aka Tony Carter.

Overall, I was impressed by Webster’s rookie campaign. It certainly left me with some high hopes. As the Broncos transitioned into the 2014 off-season, the typical transient nature of free agency reorganized the team’s cornerback corps.

DRC was out. Aqib Talib was in. Bailey was released, much to Broncos Country’s chagrin. Bradley Roby was drafted in the 1st round.

These new roster developments beg the question, where does Kayvon Webster fit in with the Broncos defense?

If we look at OTAs, Bradley Roby has been running with the ones. Chris Harris, Jr is still recovering from a partially torn ACL, but there’s no doubt that the Broncos drafted Roby to contribute immediately.

Andrew Mason’s observations on the battles going on a cornerback are illuminating:

Cornerback Kayvon Webster: The presence of Aqib Talib and first-round pick Bradley Roby puts pressure on the 2013 third-round pick, but he has responded with gradual improvement over the last three weeks, and an interception of Peyton Manning during Tuesday’s practice. Webster looks more confident and aggressive than he did last year. The expected return of Chris Harris Jr. later this summer means that if Webster keeps playing well and all hands are healthy, the Broncos could have the luxury of easing Roby into extensive work if he can’t work past the three top veterans.

Mason hints that if Webster continues to play well, Roby could have a hard time cracking the starting lineup. Personally, I find that hard to believe, but anything is possible in the NFL.

I hope Webster can turn the corner in his sophomore season. I love everything about his game. There’s no doubt that his rookie season taught him a lot and hopefully he’ll be able to apply that to his game moving forward.

At the very least, Webster provides the Broncos with very talented depth at corner. He and Tony Carter would be starters on most NFL teams. The closer we get to the season, the more excited I am to see this defense in action.

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