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A look at the history of the Broncos' draft slots

In the NFL Draft, talent is everywhere. It's just a matter of finding it.

The 10 slots at which the Broncos are scheduled to pick stand as evidence of that fact.

NO. 20

1989: S Steve Atwater, Arkansas -One of the best first-round selections in Broncos history, Atwater was a Pro Bowler by his second season, an All-Pro by his third and dominated throughout the rest of the 1990s, earning a place on the league's All-Decade team.

2003: OT George Foster, Georgia -Massive (6-foot-5, 338 pounds) but light on his feet, Foster became the Broncos' starting right tackle in his second season and remained there for three years before a 2007 trade to the Lions.


1971: DE Jack Youngblood, Los Angeles Rams -The only Hall of Famer taken with the No. 20 pick in the common-draft era, Youngblood racked up eight double-digit sack seasons and helped the Rams to 11 postseason appearances in his final 13 seasons. He played the entire 1979 postseason -- including Super Bowl XIV -- on a broken left fibula.

ALSO OF NOTE:Since 1995, five players picked at No. 20 by other teams eventually joined the Broncos: DT Luther Elliss (Detroit, 1995), DT Daryl Gardener (Miami, 1996), DE Ebenezer Ekuban (Dallas, 1999), WR Javon Walker (Green Bay, 2002) and CB Aqib Talib (Tampa Bay, 2008).

NO. 51

1994: LB Allen Aldridge, Houston -Aldridge became a full-time starter in 1995 and amassed 175 tackles in four seasons with the Broncos before jumping to the Lions as a free agent in 1998.

2001: DE Paul Toviessi, Marshall -Knee problems doomed Toviessi, who never played a regular-season or preseason snap for the Broncos after undergoing three knee surgeries in just over a year after the Broncos selected him.


2002: RB Clinton Portis, Miami (Fla.) -- **One of the most spectacular running backs in Broncos history, Portis was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2002 after running for 1,508 yards, and then delivered an even better encore, rushing for 1,591 yards in just 13 games -- a 122.4-yard average. But his long-term value came as a trade piece; the Broncos dealt him to Washington in 2004 for Champ Bailey and a second-round pick.

2003: LB Terry Pierce, Kansas State -Pierce failed to crack the Broncos' starting lineup in two seasons with the Broncos. Injuries to his pectoral muscle and his MCL held him back. He never played a regular-season game after the Brocnos released him at the final roster cutdown in 2005.


1981: LB Rickey Jackson, New Orleans Saints -Jackson is the only Hall of Famer taken with the 51st pick in the common-draft era. A six-time Pro Bowler, Jackson was a complete package as a 3-4 strong-side linebacker -- stout against the run and proficient as a pass rusher, with six double-digit sack seasons. He capped his career in San Francisco, helping lead the 49ers to their fifth world title.

NO. 82

1990: LB Jeroy Robinson, Texas A&M -One of the most disappointing picks in Broncos history, Robinson was cut after just three games. At the time, Broncos coaches cited special-teams contributions as a reason why they opted for other linebackers, including veteran Rick Dennison and rookie Anthony Thompson. Robinson played just three more games for the Phoenix Cardinals before his career ended.


1979: QB Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers -"Joe Cool" was the dominant quarterback of the 1980s, guiding the 49ers to four Super Bowl wins -- earning MVP honors in three of them. His emergence in Bill Walsh's offense allowed the 49ers to dominate the era. He concluded his career with Kansas City, guiding the Chiefs to consecutive playoff appearances.

ALSO OF NOTE:Two of the Broncos' best free-agent signees were selected No. 82 overall: S John Lynch (Tampa Bay, 1993) and WR Emmanuel Sanders (Pittsburgh, 2010).

NO. 101


1977: C Billy Bryan, Duke - **Bryan took over the starting job in 1978 and played a key role in bridging the "Orange Crush" era of the 1970s with the John Elway-led teams of the 1980s. Teammates selected him as the Broncos' offensive MVP twice, in 1980 and 1982.

2000: DT Jerry Johnson, Florida State -Johnson played just nine games in his two seasons with the Broncos; he was inactive for his entire rookie season and seven of 16 games in 2002 before being released.

2005: RB Maurice Clarett, Ohio State -The Broncos took a gamble on the talented, but troubled Clarett with the final pick of the draft's second day. He struggled with conditioning and never even played a preseason snap.

2012: CB Omar Bolden, Arizona State -Knee problems ended his Broncos career after four seasons, but he provided some spectacular work on punt returns during the run to Super Bowl 50. Bolden logged an 83-yard runback for a touchdown at Indianapolis and a 42-yard punt return early in the divisional-round win over Pittsburgh.


1986: OT Steve Wallace, San Francisco 49ers -His contributions often went under the radar on the star-studded 49ers, but Wallace was a three-time All-Pro who was one of the game's best left tackles for a decade.

NO. 126

1993: RB Kevin Williams, UCLA -Williams spent time on the practice squad in his rookie season, but never cracked the game-day roster.


2006: DE Elvis Dumervil, Louisville - Despite posting 20.5 sacks as a senior -- including a Division I-record six in one game -- Dumervil dropped into the fourth round, mainly because of a sub-6-foot frame. He quickly showed that he could be as productive as he was in college, posting 63.5 sacks in seven seasons with the Broncos. Dumervil's 17 sacks in 2009 set a club single-season record that Von Miller broke three years later.


2004: DE Jared Allen, Kansas City Chiefs -Before his famous "ride off into the sunset" retirement announcement on Twitter last year, Allen was one of the league's most productive edge rushers, finishing his career with 136 sacks. That should be enough to propel him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame; every Hall-eligible player with at least 135 sacks has been selected, including Jason Taylor this year.

NO. 177

Denver has never made a common-draft choice with the 177th pick. Though they selected tackles Tom Jewel and Ken Brusven in the 1961 and 1964 AFL Drafts, respectively, both players elected to not to play professional football.

Selwyn Jones, who went in this spot to the Browns in 1992, spent the 1997 season on the Broncos' injured-reserve list.


2000: LB Dhani Jones, N.Y. Giants -Jones carved out a solid career in 11 seasons spent with the Giants, Eagles and Bengals, posting four seasons with at least 100 tackles -- including three in succession with the Bengals from 2008-10.

NO. 203

2015: NT Darius Kilgo, Maryland -The Broncos added him for interior depth, but he struggled to gain traction and was eventually waived during his second season.


1983: DE Richard Dent, Chicago Bears -Dent was long, lean and raw when the Bears selected him with their eighth-round pick 34 years ago. (With no compensatory picks in the 1980s, selection numbers often corresponded to different rounds than they do today.) He quickly became one of the game's most feared pass rushers, earning MVP honors in Super Bowl XX. He finished his career with 137.5 sacks and joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

NO. 238

1999: TE Justin Swift, Kansas State -Swift was unable to crack a deep tight end corps that included Shannon Sharpe, Dwayne Carswell and Desmond Clark. He ended up sticking on the 49ers' roster for three seasons.


1969: DE L.C. Greenwood, Pittsburgh Steelers -A two-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler, Greenwood was at his best in the biggest games; he notched 12.5 career playoff sacks (when sacks were an unofficial statistic), including four in Super Bowl X.

NO. 252

The Broncos have picked three players with the 252nd pick -- OT Bob Langford (Middle Tennessee State, 1968), center Jim Czirr (Michigan, 1976) and safety Josh Furman (Oklahoma State, 2015). None played a regular-season snap for the Broncos.


2006: WR Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints -The Saints drafted Colton in the same year that they signed QB Drew Brees in free agency, and the two quickly found harmony together. Colston posted the first of six career 1,000-yard seasons as a rookie and holds New Orleans franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns.

NO. 253

1991: WR Curtis Mayfield, Oklahoma State -Mayfield did not stick with the Broncos and eventually became a standout in the CFL.


1999: FB Jim Finn, Chicago Bears -A Mr. Irrelevant selection, Finn did not stick with the Bears, but found a home the following year working in the same backfield with Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James. Finn moved on to the Giants in 2003, and by 2004 was in the backfield with Peyton's brother, Eli. He emerged as a dependable pass-catcher out of the backfield before injuries caught up to him, ending his career after eight seasons.

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