Denver Broncos: Looking back on team’s history with No. 15 overall pick
The Broncos sure found a keeper in the first round of the 1981 draft.
The draft that year was stocked with defensive talent and many first-round picks not only went on to be stars but to have Hall-of-Fame careers. Lawrence Taylor, Kenny Easley and Ronnie Lott were all drafted in the top 10 that year.
The Broncos came on the clock at No. 15 and chose a teammate of Lott’s, Dennis Smith.
The safety had finished a solid career at Southern Cal which included some time on the track team. The Broncos were looking for a physical presence in the defensive backfield and with Smith, that was exactly what they got.
Like Glassic, Smith played his entire 14-year career in Denver.
During that time, he was selected to the Pro Bowl six times and was named First-Team All-Pro in both 1984 and 1986. He helped the Broncos reach three Super Bowls.
But most of all, Smith, one of the more beloved Broncos of all-time, is best remembered for his bone-rattling hits. He would lay the wood to guys and set the tone for the safety position which Steve Atwater would then come in and follow.
When Atwater accepts his place in Canton later this summer, he will absolutely mention Smith and the impact that he had on his career.
Smith, who was selected for the Ring of Fame of both the Broncos and the Trojans, is still the Broncos’ all-time leading tackler, registering 1,152 solo tackles in his career.