Denver Broncos: 30 greatest players of all time

Terrell Davis #30 of the Denver Broncos. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Allsport
Terrell Davis #30 of the Denver Broncos. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Allsport /
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Steve Atwater
17 Nov 1996: Defensive back Steve Atwater #27 of the Denver Broncos returns an interception during the Broncos 34-8 win over the New England Patriots at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello/Allsport /

S. (1989-98). Steve Atwater. 10. player. 45.

Before John Lynch and Brian Dawkins, there was Steve Atwater.

Atwater was an intimidating figure at safety during the 1990s. Even in this day in age, safeties at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds are very rare.

His reactive quickness and awareness of wide receivers became second nature. However, this is not all that made Atwater special.

Atwater’s specialty was the destruction that happened when “X” receiver ran to the middle of the field. He made his presence felt immediately packing so much into one hit.

The offensive player became a deer in headlights when Atwater was roaming the back-end of the Broncos’ defense.

This is a player that transformed a defense and inspired an entire league to draft people like him.

By this logic alone Atwater is to be strongly considered for the Hall of Fame and one day the hope is to see him in Canton.

A signature moment for Atwater that Broncos fans will never forget is his famous hit on Kansas City Chiefs running back Christian Okoye.

Okoye was known for his punishing running style, and as a 250-pound back, rightly so. Atwater knocked Okoye backwards in a head-to-head collision that lives on as one of the best hits ever in the NFL.

That play embodied the type of player Atwater was throughout his whole career.

– CP