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The Denver Broncos' draft finds and flops of the millennium

Ken Pomponio Avatar
April 27, 2016

 

Four days from now, we will know the identities of the newest Denver Broncos with the draft set to commence Thursday evening in Chicago.

The Orange & Blue currently have 10 selections over seven rounds at their disposal, but whether or not they wind up using that many – or more – is subject to the draft trade winds in the Windy City as GM John Elway has shown he’s not adverse to wheeling and dealing on the fly.

That established, it’s a good time to take a gander at the Broncos’ last 16 drafts and size up the franchise’s finds and flops since the turn of the millennium. For our purposes here, we’ll define the finds — i.e. steals — as the lower-round (third or later) picks who wound up returning the greatest value and the flops/busts as the high-round (first or second) selections who came up the shortest of clearing the high-expectation bar.

Narrowing the field – particularly with the first category – was tough, but we’ll count down five of each to get to the best, starting with the …

Finds

  • DE Malik Jackson (fifth round, 137th overall, 2012 draft) – Fifth-round find turned 24 starts and 14.5 sacks over last three years into a five-year, $85 million free-agent deal with the Jaguars this offseason.
  • TE Julius Thomas (fourth, 129th, 2011) – Former hoops standout at FCS Portland State has been to a pair of Pro Bowls and has caught 29 TD passes over the last three seasons.
  • C Chris Myers (sixth, 200th, 2005) – Eighth center drafted 11 years ago wound up starting the last 128 games of his career and earning a pair of Pro-Bowl berths before retiring after the 2014 season.
  • DE Elvis Dumervil (fourth, 126th, 2006) – Talented edge rusher has 96 sacks in 138 career games while earning two first-team All-Pro and five Pro Bowl selections in 10 seasons.
  • WR Brandon Marshall (fourth, 119th, 2006) – Let’s see: Six 100-catch seasons, 882 career receptions for 11,273 yards and 79 TDs, six Pro Bowl and one first-team All-Pro selection. Not bad for the 14th wideout to come off the board a decade ago (and quite the fourth round for the Orange & Blue)

Flops

  • TE Richard Quinn (second, 64th, 2009) – The second tight end drafted in ’09 wound up starting four games and catching one pass for nine yards in four NFL seasons, two in Denver.
  • LB Terry Pierce (second, 51st, 2003) – Injury-addled former Kansas State linebacker contributed eight total tackles in 18 games, with no starts, in two seasons with the Orange & Blue.
  • DE Paul Toviessi (second, 51st, 2001) – The Broncos traded up and took a gamble on the former Marshall standout with injury issues and lost big time as Toviessi went down with a knee injury two weeks into training camp and never even played as much as a preseason pro snap.
  • CB Willie Middlebrooks (first, 24th, 2001) – The fourth defensive back drafted in ’01, the former Minnesota standout only made two starts in four seasons and failed to log a interception.
  • DE Jarvis Moss (first, 17th, 2007) – The Florida standout was supposed to breathe life into the Broncos’ pass rush as the fourth defensive end off the board in ’07, but wound up with as many sacks (3.5) as seasons in Denver while starting only one game.

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