Look back through some of the best draft picks in Broncos history from the fifth round, where the franchise has found some key contributors.
When the 2023 NFL Draft arrives in a little less than two weeks, the Broncos are scheduled to make their first selection with the 67th-overall pick.
Yet while Denver lacks a first- or second-round pick, the Broncos still have a chance to add significant talent to their roster. Over the franchise's history, the team has found a number of key contributors later in the draft — and in the coming days, DenverBroncos.com will take a look at some of those selections.
We continue with the fifth round, where the Broncos are slated to make a selection in this year's draft.
Read on for a look at a few of the franchise's best fifth-round selections.
Editor's note: The following selections are the solely the opinion of the author and do not represent the organization. Additionally, because it can take time for draft picks to round into form, players are only eligible for this list if they were drafted at least five years ago. The selected players are listed in alphabetical order.
NT RUBIN CARTER (1975, 121st overall)
A 12-year player for the Broncos, Carter earned second-team All-Pro honors in 1977 as the Broncos advanced to their first Super Bowl. He then remained a mainstay in the middle of the defensive line, recording at least six sacks in a pair of seasons and starting 152 games during his career. Briefly a coach for the Broncos following his playing career, Carter was named a member of the Broncos' Top 100 team in 2019.
DB MIKE HARDEN (1980, 131st overall)
Another longtime contributor for the Broncos, Harden appeared in 128 games across nine seasons in Denver. During his career, he played at a variety of positions in the defensive backfield, including at free safety, strong safety and cornerback. Harden recorded at least two interceptions in all but one of his seasons in Denver and posted a career-high six interceptions in both 1984 and 1986. Harden also recovered 11 fumbles in Denver and scored four touchdowns. The Michigan product, who appeared in Super Bowl XXI for the Broncos, was also a member of the Top 100 team.
DE MALIK JACKSON (2012, 137th overall)
Jackson did not make a Pro Bowl in Denver, but his role on the Broncos' 2015 defense earns him a spot on this list. The Tennessee alum started all 19 games — including postseason — during the Broncos' Super Bowl 50 run and recorded 45 tackles, 5.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits and seven passes defensed during the regular season. He also recovered a Cam Newton fumble for a touchdown to open the scoring in Super Bowl 50. Jackson appeared in 62 games during his four years in Denver.
T KEN LANIER (1981, 125th overall)
A stalwart on the Broncos' offensive line for more than a decade, Lanier started 165 games across 13 years in Denver. From 1982-92, Lanier missed just four starts and appeared in 164 of the Broncos' 168 regular-season games. A member of the Broncos' Top 100 team, Lanier protected John Elway and started in all three of the Broncos' Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s. The Florida State alum played the second-most consecutive games of any Broncos player and started the third-most consecutive games. He ranks seventh in all-time starts with the Broncos.
RB SAMMY WINDER (1982, 131st overall)
The third-leading rusher in franchise history, Winder posted 5,427 career rushing yards during his nine-year career in Denver. Winder, a Southern Mississippi alum, also ranks third in career rushing touchdowns. A two-time Pro Bowler, Winder set a career mark in 1984 as he posted the lone 1,000-yard rushing season of his career. He rushed for 23 touchdowns over the next three seasons, including a career-high nine in 1986 that earned him his second Pro Bowl berth. Winder is one of eight running backs to make the Broncos' Top 100 team.
OL Chris Kuper