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The Broncos' top Day 2 picks at each position

Look back through Broncos history with these photos of Denver's second- and third-round draft picks who went on to become Pro Bowl players with the Broncos.

Earlier this week, the staff identified the Broncos' top first-round picks in franchise history at each position.

Now, we're doing the same with Denver's former Day 2 picks. While Rounds 2 and 3 haven't always taken place on Day 2, we're pairing them together for the purpose of this exercise.

Here, then, is our list of the Broncos' top Round 2 and 3 selections at each position.

[Editor's note: The following selections are the opinion of the author.]


Brian Griese (1998, 91st overall)

A tough call to start, but Griese gets the nod due to a Pro Bowl campaign in 2000. Griese threw for 19 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2000, helping the Broncos to a 7-3 record in 10 starts as Denver returned to the playoffs. Griese threw 71 total touchdowns in his five seasons in Denver before continuing his career with the Dolphins, Buccaneers and Bears. Brock Osweiler also merits strong consideration here, largely for his 5-2 mark as a starter in 2015 that allowed the Broncos to secure homefield advantage for their Super Bowl 50 run.


Clinton Portis (2002, 51st overall)

Portis played just two seasons with the Broncos, but there was no denying his talent. He posted more than 3,000 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns in 29 total games in Denver, and he earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2003. Portis averaged 5.5 yards per carry in Denver and earned Offensive Rookie of the Year honors to begin his career.


Courtland Sutton (2018, 40th overall)

The most competitive selection of this exercise comes at wide receiver, but we're going with the Broncos' top receiver from a year ago. Sutton has a Pro Bowl selection to his name and posted 10 touchdowns in 2023. Vance Johnson and Eric Decker also have strong cases. Johnson, a member of the Three Amigos, spent 10 seasons with the Broncos, and his 415 catches for 5,695 yards and 37 touchdowns rank first among Broncos receivers drafted in Rounds 2 or 3. Eric Decker, meanwhile, posted back-to-back seasons with double-digit touchdown receptions from 2012-13.


Tony Scheffler (2006, 61st overall)

Scheffler played four seasons in Denver, and he ranks first in career receiving categories for Broncos tight ends drafted in Rounds 2 or 3. The Western Michigan product finished his Broncos career with 138 catches for 1,896 yards and 14 touchdowns before heading to Detroit for four more seasons.


Claudie Minor (1974, 68th overall)

A nine-year starter, Minor started 123 of the 125 games in which he appeared for Denver. Minor was a member of the Broncos' 1977 squad, which earned the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Ryan Harris, a starter on the Broncos' Super Bowl 50 championship team, was also a Day 2 pick.


Paul Howard (1973, 54th overall)

A Broncos Top 100 Team selection, Howard was a mainstay on the Broncos' offensive line for more than a dozen years. In his 14-year career, Howard started 147 of the 187 games in which he appeared. Zane Beadles and George Goeddeke, who each earned all-star appearances, were among the other strong candidates for this spot. Howard's longevity, though, gives him the edge.


Rulon Jones (1980, 42nd overall)

A close call here between Jones and Barney Chavous, Jones gets the nod on the back of two Pro Bowl nods and a first-team All-Pro selection in 1986. Both players were also on the Broncos Top 100 Team.


Simon Fletcher (1985, 54th overall)

A Ring of Famer and former franchise leader in sacks, Fletcher recorded five consecutive seasons with double-digit sacks from 1989-93. Fletcher also played in all three of the Broncos' Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s.


Michael Brooks (1987, 86th overall)

Brooks spent the first six years of his career in Denver and earned Pro Bowl honors in 1992 as he posted 170 tackles and three forced fumbles. He would later post a second-team All-Pro selection with the Giants.


Billy Thompson (1969, 61st overall)

Much of the Orange Crush defender's Ring of Fame career came at safety, as he earned all three of his Pro Bowl nods and a first-team All-Pro selection while at the strong safety spot. Thompson, though, began his career at cornerback. That technicality allows us to get both Thompson and our next selection on the list. Thompson, no matter where he lined up, was a playmaker; he recorded 40 career interceptions and 21 fumble recoveries in his 13 seasons in Denver.


Justin Simmons (2016, 98th overall)

Simmons is moving on to a new team, but the 2016 compensatory third-round pick left his mark in Denver. The Boston College product tied for the league lead in interceptions in 2022 and posted two Pro Bowl appearances to go with this four second-team All-Pro nods. A ballhawk in the secondary, Simmons made plenty of plays during his career with the Broncos.

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