November 20, 2009
During the Broncos’ 50th season, The Gazette will take a look back at some of the most memorable moments, players, games and plays over the team’s history, counting down a top 10 list every weekend during the season.
Today: The top 10 best draft picks in team history.
10. G Keith Bishop, sixth round, 1980. Bishop started with a modest draft position, and ended up on the Broncos’ 50th anniversary team.
9. DT Rubin Carter, fifth round, 1975. Everybody today knows a 3-4 defense needs a strong nose tackle. Carter is considered the first true nose tackle, and played the position well for his 12 Broncos seasons.
8. RB Floyd Little, first round, 1967. This list is heavy with late-round gems. Little was the sixth pick of the draft. But this was a big one because he was the first first-round pick to sign with Denver and became a star.
7 (tie). WR Brandon Marshall and DE Elvis Dumervil, fourth round, 2006. Give the Broncos double credit for two great picks with the 119th and 126th overall selections of the 2006 draft.
6. CB Billy Thompson, third round, 1969. A member of Denver’s Ring of Fame, Thompson finished his 13-year career with many Broncos records. He was the 61st pick of the draft.
5. LB Tom Jackson, fourth round, 1973. Jackson was a three-time all-conference pick but slipped in the draft. He was named the Broncos’ defensive MVP three times.
4. C Tom Nalen, seventh round, 1994. Nalen wasn’t highly regarded coming out of college but ended up being the perfect fit for the Broncos’ zone-blocking scheme.
3. LB Karl Mecklenburg, 12th round, 1983. The 12th round doesn’t exist anymore. The draft ends after seven rounds. Mecklenburg wouldn’t be drafted today, but made six Pro Bowls.
2. TE Shannon Sharpe, seventh round, 1990. It’s a shame the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s politics kept the deserving Sharpe from first-ballot induction. Not a bad late pick for the Broncos.
1. RB Terrell Davis, sixth round, 1995. Davis wasn’t fast and didn’t have a great college career. After falling in the draft he became the most important player on Denver’s Super Bowl teams, and the greatest pick in team history.