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The Broncos' top late-round picks at each position


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

Now, we're doing the same with Denver's late-round picks. For this grouping, any player selected in the fourth round or later is eligible to make the list — and as you'll see, there's plenty of talent.

Here, then, are our choices for the Broncos' top selections from Round 4 or later at each position.

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


Gary Kubiak (1983, 197th overall)

Kubiak appeared in just five career games for the Broncos, but he's honored here for all this selection meant to the organization. In addition to being John Elway's backup for nine seasons — three of which ended with Super Bowl appearances — Kubiak would go on to win two Super Bowls as the team's offensive coordinator and another as the Broncos' head coach. Trevor Siemian also merited consideration, as the seventh-round pick earned the starting job for the Broncos in consecutive seasons.


Terrell Davis (1995, 196th overall)

Not bad when you can find a Hall of Famer in the sixth round. Davis' story is well chronicled, and the Georgia product parlayed a massive special teams tackle into a Hall of Fame career. Davis' career was short, but he earned three first-team All-Pro nods, rushed for 2,000 yards in 1998 to earn league MVP honors and was named Super Bowl XXXII MVP as he helped the Broncos earn their first world championship.


Rick Upchurch (1975, 95th overall)

A Ring of Famer and two-time Hall of Fame All-Decade Team selection, Upchurch was a three-time first-team All-Pro for his return prowess. Upchurch returned eight punts for touchdowns during his career and averaged at least 13 yards per punt return in four different seasons. In 1976, his first All-Pro season, he averaged nearly 14 yards on his 39 returns and took four kicks to the house.


Shannon Sharpe (1990, 192nd overall)

The Broncos seem to have a knack for finding Hall of Famers at the end of the draft. Sharpe was a four-time first-team All-Pro and retired as the all-time receiving leader among tight ends. A force on the field and a tremendous personality away from it, Sharpe was a key piece of the Broncos' back-to-back Super Bowl wins.


Ken Lanier (1981, 125th overall)

A Florida State product, Lanier protected John Elway for a decade and helped the Broncos to three Super Bowl appearances. Over 13 total seasons with the Broncos, Lanier started 165 games and appeared in 177 contests. A Broncos Top 100 Team selection in 2019, Lanier missed just five starts from 1983-1992 and started every game in eight of those seasons.


Tom Nalen (1994, 218th overall)

A two-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, Nalen was a mainstay on an offensive line that helped the Broncos earn back-to-back Super Bowl titles. Nalen, who was inducted into the Ring of Fame in 2013, is second in franchise history in starts (188) to only John Elway. Nalen's five Pro Bowl selections are the most in team history by an offensive lineman.

Look back through Broncos history with these photos of Denver's draft picks who went on to become Pro Bowl players with the Broncos after being selected in the fourth round or later.


Lyle Alzado (1971, 79th overall)

A menacing figure on the defensive line, Alzado was a force on the Broncos' Orange Crush defense. He earned back-to-back Pro Bowl nods in 1977 and 1978, and he finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year vote in 1977. A member of the Broncos Top 100 Team, Alzado spent eight seasons with the Broncos before finishing his career with the Browns and Raiders.


Tom Jackson (1973, 88th overall)

Another member of the Orange Crush defense, Jackson also earned first-team All-Pro honors in 1977 and garnered three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 1977-79. Jackson recorded 40 sacks during his 14-year career — though sacks were not officially tracked before 1982 — and was one of three Broncos to start in both Super Bowl XII and Super Bowl XXI.


Karl Mecklenburg (1983, 310th overall)

The greatest 12th-round pick in franchise history, Mecklenburg holds three first-team All-Pro selections to his name. A six-time Pro Bowler who spent his entire 12-year career with the Broncos, "Meck" is one of the top defenders in Denver's storied history. A Colorado Sports Hall of Famer and former Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist, Mecklenburg made a slew of plays for the Broncos and ranks third in franchise history in sacks.


Tyrone Braxton (1987, 334th overall)

Braxton, another 12th-round pick, is no slouch. The North Dakota State product spent 12 years in Denver and played both cornerback and safety. He started at safety on the Broncos' Super Bowl initial championship teams, though, and earned a Pro Bowl appearance with nine interceptions in 1996. Braxton came up big in big moments, as he picked off passes in the 1997 AFC Championship Game and in Super Bowl XXXII and recovered a pair of fumbles in the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl the following season.


Steve Foley (1975, 199th overall)

Similar to Braxton, Foley began his career at cornerback before shifting to safety. The Tulane product ranks first in franchise history with 44 career interceptions and appeared in both Super Bowl XII and Super Bowl XXI. Foley recorded at least six interceptions in three different seasons and posted multiple interceptions in all 10 seasons in which he played multiple games.

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