Earlier today I was reading comments in one of the threads, the one about listing in order the Broncos' top 5 needs in the draft. Someone made a comment to the effect that Webster is an OK backup, but that the Broncos should draft a CB to start in his place. That comment hit me the wrong way for two reasons. I believe that Webster has all the necessary athleticism and talent to become a very good, possibly elite CB in the NFL, but that he came to the Broncos rather raw and in need of coaching and development. I also began to wonder how likely it would be for the Broncos to be able to draft a new rookie CB who would be able to perform at a higher level from day one than Webster is right now after he's had a year of NFL coaching and development in the Broncos' system. That prompted me to do a little research on CBs drafted in 2013 to see how Webster compared in production his rookie year.
There were 29 total CBs selected in the 2013 draft. As I was looking up information about them, I decided to only look at the ones selected in the first 5 rounds, since 6th and 7th rounders were likely to be pine riders and practice squad players. That left me with 22 draft picks to look at. Three of those were moved to safety and will not be included in my data. That left me with 19 rookie CBs to consider including Webster. 11 of the 19 were drafted earlier than Webster and 7 were drafted later.
Now I had my sample, but what the heck was I going to look at and compare? Statistics can lie, because they can end up comparing apples and oranges, but people want to see numbers. Crummy teams draft earlier, and their rookies often have to contribute earlier whether they're ready or not due to lack of depth. I don't know if more tackles is a good thing or a bad thing for a young CB. Certainly the youngsters are likely to be tested more often than more savvy experienced vets. But if the youngster bats down or intercepts a pass, he doesn't need to tackle the receiver who did not receive the ball.
I decided relevant information for my comparison would include # (where the player was drafted), name (obvious), team (because you probably have a good idea about which teams were good and which teams were crummy in 2013), TG (total games), GS (games started during the 2013 season), TT (total tackles, both solo and assisted), Pdef. (passes defended), and Int. (interceptions). I considered including sacks, but only 1 of my 19 rookie CBs had sacks (1.5, and darn it, he's a Patriot)), so I dropped that category.
Please excuse my crummy attempt at creating a table. Excel and Word are not my strong points, and even if they were, I don't know how to import tables into a//an MHR post. Here goes:
# Name Team TG GS TT Pdef. Int.
12 D.J. Hayden Raiduhs 8 2 25 2 1
43 Johnthan Banks Bucs 16 16 55 5 3
60 Robert Alford Falcons 16 4 40 8 2
90 Kayvon Webster Broncos 14 2 41 9 1
93 Will Davis Dolphins 5 0 8 0 0
Conclusions: Only 2 of the first 3 CBs drafted (all in the first round) had production type numbers (tackles, passes defended, and interceptions) that look significantly greater than Kayvon's. The other first round pick, the second round picks, and the other 3rd round picks with one exception (Logan Ryan with 5 interceptions; gosh darned Patriot!) had numbers that were comparable to or lower than Kayvon's numbers. The CBs selected after Kayvon had little or no production with one exception (Green Bay's Micah Hyde). For those of you who think the Broncos reached where they selected Kayvon, the numbers suggest otherwise. He was one of the last CBs selected who had productive numbers his rookie year. The numbers also suggest to me that the chances of drafting a rookie CB this year who would be more productive than Kayvon was as a rookie aren't very high, at least not without trading up into the early or middle first round. If the Broncos were silly enough to give up a draft pick in the very deep 2014 draft in order to do that, how likely is it that the first round rookie CB they might get would be more productive from day one than Kayvon is now after a year of development and experience?