The Denver Broncos have made some killer first-round picks during the team’s 58 years of existence. Today, we decide who were the 15 best in franchise history.
Turning first-round picks into quality NFL players in never easy. The Denver Broncos, like pretty much any of the other 31 teams in the league, are evidence of this. Despite the difficulty of landing a star on day one, the Broncos have had their fair share of draft-day successes.
But who were the best of the bunch among the Broncos’ first-round picks? Well, to answer that question, I put together a list of every player the team has ever selected in the first round. Then, I whittled it down to the 15 greatest players to ever wear the navy and orange, taking things like stats, Pro Bowls and Super Bowl appearances into consideration.
And no, Tim Tebow didn’t make the cut. Just, no.
I will also put this out in the open so no one throws a fit — John Elway was not selected by the Broncos. He was actually drafted by the Baltimore Colts, who were then leveraged into trading the future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback. So no, he will not be on this list.
It’s also worth noting that two of the Broncos’ first few first-round selections, Pro Football Hall of Famers Merlin Olsen and Bob Brown, never actually played for the club. Both opted to play for their NFL counterparts (Denver was still in the AFL), so you won’t find either on this list.
Now that we’ve got that all cleared up, here are my selections for the Broncos’ 15 greatest first-round picks in team history. Many of the team’s best picks came in the later rounds, but there were still plenty of tremendous early round additions in this franchise’s past.