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Quinton Carter and Kayvon Webster keys to making Broncos secondary elite

Both these young players are in unique positions to make an impact in 2014, albeit through reserve roles.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As it stands now, the safety depth behind starters Rahim Moore and T.J. Ward is razor thin.  Though you have three players behind them who all have extensive starting experience, none have made the impact that Quinton Carter did during his rookie campaign.  There is enough tape on David Bruton and Duke Ihenacho from the safety position to suggest that the Broncos would be best served raising the level of competition amongst the reserves.

Though hampered by a couple of serious injuries the past two off-seasons, Quinton Carter has shown flashes of the athleticism he exhibited in 2011.

Via independent analyst Andrew Mason:

After two years of knee problems, what you want to see are sharp changes of direction and acceleration. He showed that this week. Considering how well he played on the first team in his rookie season, he could give the Broncos a potentially above-average starter as a backup, and with

Duke Ihenacho and David Bruton possessing starting experience, the Broncos could have some of the best safety depth in the league.

Nevermind stepping into a role in case of injury.  The Denver Broncos are currently void of that 3rd safety that could provide them much more flexibility in their sub-packages.  A 3rd viable starter gives them the ability to drop T.J. Ward into the box more as a linebacker, which would give the Broncos lock-down potential at every level of the field.

Carter's flexibility is an added bonus.  He has played both FS and SS spots and even logged post-season interceptions against Ben Roethlisberger (SS) and Tom Brady (FS) from each position.

Let's take a look at his interception of Big Ben:


Looks like a standard Cover 2 shell.  Carter (Bottom) is going to open to fly with the outside man down the sideline but quickly recognizes blanket coverage and crashes down to provide support on the TE coming over the middle on a post.  An errant throw is easily intercepted, but the instincts and recognition are what is on display here.

A healthy and athletic Quinton Carter at this stage in the off-season is very much welcomed in the Broncos secondary.

What about the corner position?

We know Chris Harris Jr. is still recovering from a torn ACL and that rookie Bradley Roby has made some plays with the starting unit.  By the early looks of things, the #3 corner spot his for the taking, but  does not necessarily mean the rookie has to be rushed into action if things are not clicking.

Earlier in the week Jack Del Rio and John Fox both pointed to the importance of quality depth at the corner position.  We all know from last years injury bug that depth at corner is not only recommended but necessary to help foster continuity in the defensive backfield.

To that end, Mason highlights the steady improvement of 2nd year player 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.

Kayvon had an up and down season, but I liked what I saw from the young player.  Despite being picked on by Phillip Rivers late in the season in what would become a performance-defying negative in the eyes of most Broncos fans, I see the speed, range, and physicality that could eventually turn into something quite special.

Time will tell, but if Quinton Carter and Kayvon Webster continue their progress through the offseason, the Denver Broncos secondary could be every bit as flexible and imposing as the front 7.