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Broncos Draft History: Defensive Backs

Posted Mar 10, 2011

A look back at the defensive backs the Broncos have selected in the NFL Draft.


As we wrap up our week's preview of the defensive backs available in the 2011 NFL Draft, let's take a look back at who the Broncos have drafted at the position.

Player: Darrent Williams
Year Drafted: 2005
Round: 2 - 56 Overall
College: Oklahoma St.

Broncos Career: Williams was the first of three cornerbacks drafted by the Broncos in 2005. His impact was felt immediately on defense and in the return game, nabbing six interceptions - returning two for touchdowns - and leading the team in punt returns. Williams died in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2007 after being shot near downtown Denver just hours after he and the Broncos completed their 2006 season.


Player: Steve Atwater
Year Drafted: 1989
Round: 1 - 20 Overall
College: Arkansas

Broncos Career: Atwater was a starter from the day he arrived in Denver and quickly gained the reputation as one of the toughest safeties in all of football. He finished his illustrious career with 24 interceptions and was named to eight Pro Bowls. Atwater was inducted as the 20th member of the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 2005.


Player: Dennis Smith
Year Drafted: 1981
Round: 1 - 15 Overall
College: Southern California

Broncos Career:  Smith manned the Denver secondary for 14 years and was considered one of the most ferocious hitters in the NFL. A six-time Pro Bowler, Smith finished his career ranked third all time in games played (184) by a Bronco and fifth in games started (170). He was inducted into the Ring of Fame in 2001.


Player: Louis Wright
Year Drafted: 1975
Round: 1 - 17 Overall
College: San Jose St.

Broncos Career: For 12 electrifying years, Wright was a stalwart in the Broncos' secondary. He played 166 games in orange and blue, starting 163, and was named to five Pro Bowls. He concluded his career with 26 interceptions and was named to the Ring of Fame in 1993.


Player: Billy Thompson
Year Drafted: 1969
Round: 3 - 61 Overall
College: Maryland-Eastern Shore

Broncos Career: Thompson started the Broncos' legacy in the defensive backfield, playing 13 seasons in Denver. A team captain for many years, Thompson finished his career with more starts (178) and games played (179) than any player in team history - and currently ranks third and 10th, respectively, in those categories. Thompson was inducted to the Ring of Fame in 1987 and currently serves as the Broncos' Director of Community Outreach.


Player: Paul Krause
Year Drafted: 1964
Round: 12
College: Iowa

Broncos Career: While the Hall of Famer never played for the Broncos, he was drafted by the team in the 12th round of the 1964 AFL draft. Unfortunately for the Broncos, Krause was drafted also drafted by the Washington Redskins in the NFL Draft where he started his career.


For more on the team's defensive back draft picks, read Jim Saccomano's blog.

Other defensive backs drafted:

Year Rd. No. Name College
2009 2a 37 Alphonso Smith Wake Forest
2009 2b 48 Darcel McBath Texas Tech
2009 4a 114 David Bruton Notre Dame
2008 4b 119 Jack Williams Kent St.
2008 7a 220 Josh Barrett Arizona St.
2005 3a 76 Karl Paymah Washington St.
2005 3b 97 Domonique Foxworth Maryland
2004 3 85 Jeremy LeSuer Michigan
2004 5 152 Jeff Shoate San Diego St.
2002 4 131 Sam Brandon Nevada-Las Vegas
2002 7a 228 Chris Young Georgia Tech
2001 1 24 Willie Middlebrooks Minnesota
2000 1 15 Deltha O'Neal California
2000 2b 45 Kenoy Kennedy Arkansas
1987 12 334 Tyrone Braxton North Dakota St.
1980 5a 131 Mike Harden Michigan

Next week we take a look at wide receivers.

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