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 week during the season.
Today: The 10 worst draft picks in Broncos history.
10. LB Mike Croel, first round, 1991. He was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He faded quickly after that, and the fourth overall pick was gone after a sack-less 2004 season.
9. OT Kelvin Clark, first round, 1979. His failure – eight starts with the Broncos – was magnified by Denver finding Dave Studdard as a free agent in 1979, and Studdard going on to start 133 games at tackle.
8. The class of 2003. The Broncos drafted 10 players this year and not one made an impact. The best player was George Foster, who had 45 unimpressive starts before being benched and traded. Most of this class was gone within two years.
7. DE Paul Toviessi, second round, 2001. Mike Shanahan liked to gamble on players with injury problems. His worst bet was on Toviessi, who never played a down in the NFL because of knee issues.
6. G Steve Schindler, first round, 1977. Schindler was the 18th pick of the draft but never made an impact. He played 28 games and started only four for the Broncos.
5. WR Marcus Nash, first round, 1998. Four catches and 76 yards before being shipped out in his second season is all Nash gave Denver for the 30th pick.
4. QB Tommy Maddox, first round, 1992. Instead of drafting someone to help John Elway (receiver Carl Pickens, anyone?) the Broncos drafted a quarterback to infuriate their superstar.
3. RB Maurice Clarett, third round, 2005. Yes, it was only a third-rounder. But the audacity of the pick given Clarett’s red flags (and passing on Marion Barber and Brandon Jacobs) make this perhaps the most inexcusable selection on the list.
2. CB Willie Middlebrooks, first round, 2001. Middlebrooks was bad right away. He didn’t even play a down on defense until mid-November of 2003, his third season. He ended his career with zero interceptions.
1. NT Ted Gregory, first round, 1988. When Dan Reeves saw Gregory in person, he was shocked at how short he was. Gregory had knee problems too. He was the 26th pick but was traded to New Orleans before playing in a game for the Broncos.