RB Terrell Davis (Round 6, No. 196)
LB Steve Russ (Round 7, No. 218)
WR/TE Byron Chamberlain (Round 7, No. 222)
Another draft class compromised by trades left the Broncos with no picks in the first three rounds -- but seven in the the last four rounds.
None of the first four picks lasted beyond 1997; Jamie Brown, Ken Brown, Phil Yeboah-Kodie and Fritz Fequiere played a combined 31 games, including four starts. But those that followed each earned two Super Bowl rings -- although Davis, of course, is the star, and one of the best three picks relative to round in Broncos history.
For the record, these are the running backs picked ahead of Terrell Davis in 1995:
Ki-Jana Carter (Cincinnati, Round 1, No. 1 overall)
Tyrone Wheatley (N.Y. Giants, Round 1, No. 17 overall) 1
Napoleon Kaufman (Oakland, Round 1, No. 18 overall) 1
James Stewart (Jacksonville, Round 1, No. 19 overall) 2
Rashaan Salaam (Chicago, Round 1, No. 21 overall) 1
Sherman Williams (Dallas, Round 2, No. 46 overall)
Terrell Fletcher (San Diego, Round 2, No. 51 overall)
Curtis Martin (New England, Round 3, No. 74 overall)
Joe Aska (Oakland, Round 3, No. 86 overall)
Rodney Thomas (Houston, Round 3, No. 89 overall)
Larry Jones (Washington, Round 4, No. 103 overall)
Aaron Hayden (San Diego, Round 4, No. 104 overall)
James Stewart (Minnesota, Round 5, No. 157 overall)
Ryan Christopherson (Jacksonville, Round 5, No. 169 overall)
Travis Jervey (Green Bay, Round 5, No. 170 overall)
Dino Philyaw (New England, Round 6, No. 195 overall)
First of all, imagine if the Patriots had taken Davis one pick before the Broncos turned in their card for the University of Georgia running back; they would have been sitting on one Hall of Famer (Martin) and one who will be. But, of course, they didn't, and the rest is history.
Second ... five first-round running backs! That is as many as the total of the last four first rounds combined. This is a different era, indeed.
But as for Davis ... a Hall-of-Fame-caliber running back in the sixth round represents amazing value. No one in Broncos history ran better. No running back in NFL history has this collection of hardware and accomplishments:
NFL MVP award (1998)
Super Bowl MVP award (Super Bowl XXXII)
A 2,000-yard season (1998)
Including the postseason, he averaged 101.7 rushing yards per game in his career. Only Jim Brown averaged more.
Russ played 24 games for the Broncos, mostly on special teams, from 1997-2000. The former Air Force standout spent the 1995 and 1996 seasons serving his postgraduate military commitment.
Chamberlain became a solid part of the Broncos' tight end collection behind Shannon Sharpe, catching 72 passes for 964 yards and three touchdowns from 1995-2000. He found more individual success in Minnesota from 2001-02, and made a brief, but unsuccessful, return to the Broncos during the 2004 offseason and preseason.
Also of note:
A future Broncos assistant coach and NFL head coach was one of the team's undrafted signees that year: Utah quarterback Mike McCoy. He did not stick on the roster, but would enter the NFL coaching ranks in 2000 after two seasons with the Amsterdam Admirals of the World League/NFL Europe and another with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders.
The Broncos surrendered their first-round pick -- along with a third-rounder in 1994 -- in a deal that netted WR Mike Pritchard and the seventh-round selection used on Chamberlain. Their second-round pick was part of the package of three selections -- including first- and sixth-rounders in 1994 -- that the Broncos sent to Minnesota in 1993 for Hall of Fame tackle Gary Zimmerman.