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Broncos Draft History: Wide Receivers

Posted Apr 4, 2013

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

As we begin to wrap up our week's preview of the wide receivers available in the 2013 NFL Draft, let's take a look back at who the Broncos have drafted at the position.

Player: Demaryius Thomas
Year Drafted: 2010
Round: 1 - 22 Overall
College: Georgia Tech

Broncos Career: Thomas, who was the first wide receiver drafted in 2010, has totaled 148 catches for 2,268 yards and 16 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons. His 80-yard touchdown reception on the first play of overtime vs. Pittsburgh in the 2011 AFC Wild Card Round propelled the Broncos to their first playoff win since the 2005 season. He finished with four catches for 204 yards in the game.


Player: Eric Decker
Year Drafted: 2010
Round: 3 - 97 overall
College: Minnesota

Broncos Career: Decker enjoyed a career year in 2012, setting career highs with 85 catches, 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns. He owns a Broncos record for receiving scores over a two-year span with 21 from 2011-12.


Player: Eddie Royal
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.


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.


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
College: Florida

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
College: Purdue

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
College: Arizona

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
College: Minnesota

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.


The other wide receivers drafted by the Broncos since 2000:

Year Rd. No. Name College
2009 5 141 Kenny McKinley South Carolina
2006 4c 130 Domenik Hixon Akron
2004 2b 54 Darius Watts Marshall
2004 6a 171 Triandos Luke Alabama
2003 5b 158 Adrian Madise Texas Christian
2002 1 19 Ashley Lelie Hawaii
2002 5 144 Herb Haygood Michigan State
2001 6 190 Kevin Kasper Iowa
2000 3 70 Chris Cole Texas A&M
2000 5 154 Muneer Moore Richmond
2000 7b 246 Leroy Fields Jackson State

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