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With seven Super Bowl appearances, three Lombardi Trophies, over 10 players in the Hall of Fame, The Orange Crush and The No Fly Zone, the Denver Broncos are without a doubt one of the most storied franchised in the NFL.
The list of legends that have played in Orange & Blue is longer than a CVS receipt.
But which Broncos legend in his prime would be the best addition to the 2022 squad as they try to get back to the winning ways?
The DNVR Broncos Crew breaks it down.
Which Broncos legend would you add to the 2022 team?
Zac: Peyton Manning — This is no disrespect to Russell Wilson at all. In fact, if this question were open to all NFL legends, not just Broncos, Manning would be at the top of my list too.
There’s been no one in NFL history like No. 18, especially when he was in his prime.
Manning’s stats speak for themselves, but the Hall of Famer brought so much more to the field than just record-breaking numbers. His presence, much like Wilson’s, turned the Colts and Broncos organizations around immediately. His ability to diagnose a defense at the line of scrimmage made him one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
Despite Wilson being a borderline top five quarterback in the game right now, a prime Manning would make the 2022 Broncos the frontrunner for the AFC West and AFC and make this season Super Bowl or Bust. No other Broncos legend, outside of potentially John Elway, would have that type of impact this year.
The choice is easy.
RK: Von Miller — Since Peyton is off the board, I’m going to take a different approach. We already know Russell Wilson is a Super Bowl caliber quarterback, so what other position of value does Denver need the most help? The second-most valuble position, pass rusher.
You could make a case here for adding a corner in Champ Bailey, but Denver already has a true No. 1 corner in Pat Surtain, they do not have have a true No. 1 pass rusher.
Adding prime Von Miller, the best pass rusher in Broncos history, would suddenly make that unit very scary, freeing up Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory to be a dangerous two, three punch. Not to mention what it could do for Dre’Mont Jones on the inside.
In 2012, Miller amassed an incredible 18.5 sacks, getting within reach of the all-time record of 22.5. Give that to a defense with players like Surtain and Simmons already in the fold and you almost certainly have a Super Bowl caliber defense to go along with what we expect to be a comparable offense.
Add in the fact that Von is one of the best playoff pass rushers of all time on a per game basis and thi addition may just be all it takes to get this team to the mountain top.
Henry: Champ Bailey — Patrick Surtain is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Imagine if he was CB2 for the Broncos.
With Champ Bailey was back with the Broncos for the 2022 season, Denver might have the best secondary in its history. And that’s saying something.
Bailey’s peak may have been the best of any Bronco to date. Peyton Manning, Terrell Davis and others are tough to compete with, but Bailey’s 2006 is right up there. He was targeted 35 times, came away with 10 interceptions, defended 21 passes and also added 85 tackles. He intercepted passes in games against Randy Moss (who put up 23 touchdowns the next year), Hines Ward (the reigning Super Bowl MVP) and Chad Johnson (the league’s leading receiver that season).
Plus, Bailey is among the fastest cornerbacks to play the game. His play style would fit perfectly into the modern NFL. He’s the answer here.
I’ll hand honorable mentions to Shannon Sharpe, Gary Zimmerman and Randy Gradishar. All could help, but probably not as much as Champ.