For the next four weeks we will take a look at four different first-round picks from Broncos history, starting with Steve Sewell.
Out of Oklahoma, Sewell was the Broncos’ top draft choice with the 26th-overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft.
At that time, the Broncos’ head coach was Dan Reeves, and he was interested in taking the best and most versatile player available.
When he showed me the big board the day before the draft, Sewell’s name jumped out at me. He had just completed a career in which he had done a little of everything for the Sooners out of his running back position, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 19.7 yards per reception in his senior season.
Dan told me how impressive he had been in the team interviews.
Impressed with the young San Francisco native, the Broncos dug deeper and talked to everyone they could at Oklahoma, from head coach to equipment people to staff secretaries. Everyone raved about Sewell’s character and he rose quickly on the Denver draft board.
So, he was our first round pick in 1985, and I soon found that every word said about him was true.
He was as classy and hard-working as any player I ever had, and he was a dream with the press.
He eventually played on three Super Bowl teams for Denver, but his first visit to Denver endeared him to everyone in the organization.
In addition to having great talents and versatility, he was textbook polite and nice.
We had him in right away to meet the press and staffers, and I asked him for his number in the Oklahoma dorm room.
Steve confided to me during his brief visit that he was anxious to get back to school because “I have a big term paper to finish.”
I found that to be very uncommon for a first-round draft choice, to still be concerned with academics after having hit the NFL mother lode.
As it happens, the following Saturday night I was doing draftee bios on my kitchen table for our press guide and came across some questions I needed to answer.
So, I called Steve’s number, fully expecting that he would not be in his room at midnight on a Saturday night.
But he answered right away. Steve was working on that term paper.
He answered my questions and we talked for a half hour, about Denver, values and common interests — we both liked movies a lot.
Sometimes you learn more from offhand comments than anything prepared.
I knew we had someone special right then and there.
Steve Sewell became a great player and a fan favorite in Denver.
Those qualities that were and still are so much a part of him led Dan Reeves to select him, and Sewell became a vital cog on our three championship teams of the 1980s.
Steve Sewell proved to be an outstanding choice as our first draft choice in 1985, and he remains in the Denver area today as Overland High School’s head football coach.