As we wrap up our week's preview of the wide receivers available in the 2011 NFL Draft, let's take a look back at who the Broncos have drafted at the position.
Year Drafted: 2008
Round: 2 - 42 Overall
College: Virginia Tech
Broncos Career: Royal started his NFL career with a bang by amassing 146 receiving yards on Monday Night Football against the Raiders. That total was the sixth-most yards by a player making his NFL debut. He concluded his rookie campaign with 91 passes, second most by a rookie in NFL history. Royal continues to be a threat for the Broncos in the passing and return game.
Player: Brandon Marshall
Year Drafted: 2006
Round: 4a - 199 Overall
College: Central Florida
Broncos Career: Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 230 pounds, Marshall was one of the largest wide receivers to ever don the orange and blue. After only catching 20 balls as a rookie, Marshall made his presence felt with three consecutive 100-catch seasons and Pro Bowl appearances in 2008 and 2009. On April 14, 2010, Marshall was traded to the Miami Dolphins.
Player: Shannon Sharpe
Year Drafted: 1990
Round: 7 - 192 Overall
College: Savannah State
Broncos Career: Though he was drafted as a wide receiver, Sharpe was quickly converted to tight end where he re-wrote the Broncos and NFL record books for the position. For 12 years, Sharpe redefined the position, retiring as the NFL's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns by a tight end (currently second to Tony Gonzalez). Sharpe was inducted to the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 2009 and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011.
Player: Ricky Nattiel
Year Drafted: 1987
Round: 1 - 27 Overall
Broncos Career: Nattiel played six seasons for the Broncos, catching 121 balls for nearly 2,000 yards. The team's first-round selection in the 1987 draft, Nattiel was a member of the vaunted "Three Amigos," along with Mark Jackson and Vance Johnson. Nattiel's biggest claim to fame was his 56-yard touchdown reception from John Elway on the first play of Super Bowl XXII.
Player: Mark Jackson
Year Drafted: 1986
Round: 6b - 161 Overall
Broncos Career: Drafted in the sixth round of the 1986 draft, Jackson was a reliable, sure-handed receiver who was a favorite target of Elway. In seven seasons with the Broncos, Jackson had 276 catches, but none were bigger than his 5-yard touchdown catch to conclude "The Drive" against the Browns in the 1986 AFC Championship Game.
Player: Vance Johnson
Year Drafted: 1985
Round: 2a - 31 Overall
Broncos Career: Johnson lined up at wide receiver for 10 seasons in Denver, grabbing 415 passes for 5,695 yards and 37 touchdowns. With his speed and elusiveness, Johnson was a threat every time he touched the football and was an integral part of three AFC Championships. One of his best career games came in Super Bowl XXI, when he had five catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Player: Rick Upchurch
Year Drafted: 1975
Round: 4b - 95 Overall
Broncos Career: During his nine-year NFL career, Upchurch caught 267 passes, but his biggest impact for the Broncos came in the return game. In 1976, Upchurch's second season, he returned four punts for a touchdown averaging nearly 14-yards per punt return on his way to his first Pro Bowl. He would make three more Pro Bowls and by the time he hung up the cleats after the 1983 season, he had accounted for 10,081 total yards and 35 touchdowns.
Other wide receivers drafted:
|2009||5||141||Kenny McKinley||South Carolina|
|2003||5b||158||Adrian Madise||Texas Christian|
|2002||5||144||Herb Haygood||Michigan State|
|2000||3||70||Chris Cole||Texas A&M|
|2000||7b||246||Leroy Fields||Jackson State|
Next week we take a look at linebackers.