Denver pays steep price for defender

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

ENGLEWOOD, Co. -- The Denver Broncos are betting on themselves in 2009.

Denver traded its own first-round pick in 2010 to Seattle to take Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith at No. 37.

Denver had two draft picks in 2010 as part of the Jay Cutler trade to Chicago. The fact that Denver traded its own pick and not the pick gained from Chicago means the Broncos believe they will finish better than Chicago this year.

The Seahawks likely would have taken either first-round pick in 2010 for the No. 37 pick.

"I know there probably are questions about us trading a one for a two this year," Denver coach Josh McDaniels said. "We had him rated very high on our board."

Denver's trade could be financially motivated. It wouldn't be a surprise if Denver wasn't excited about having two first-round picks in back-to-back years. McDaniels denied money was an issue. Denver took running back Knowshon Moreno at No. 12 and defensive end/linebacker Robert Ayers at No. 18 Saturday. The No. 18 pick was part of the Cutler trade.

While the price to get Smith was steep, he is a quality player. He is very bright and was a ball hawk at Wake Forest. He is expected to be Denver's nickel cornerback right away.

Denver has concentrated on running backs and defensive backs this offseason. It signed three running backs in free agency and added one Saturday. It signed three defensive backs in free agency and added two Saturday.

Denver has a very thin and green defensive line and Ayers was the only defensive lineman of Denver's five picks Saturday.