10 biggest draft steals in Denver Broncos history

Some of the biggest names in the history of the Denver Broncos were not highly drafted players.
Super Bowl XXII: Denver Broncos v Washington Redskins
Super Bowl XXII: Denver Broncos v Washington Redskins / Ronald C. Modra/GettyImages
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First-round picks in the NFL draft get all of the fanfare, media attention and buzz, but the draft goes deep for a reason. And every year, great players are found in the later rounds and even the undrafted free-agent process.

The Denver Broncos have found some of the best players in team history in the first three rounds, but some other greats have come much later in the process. Draft picks are important, even if they are in later rounds. Often, players drafted in the later rounds are quickly forgotten when they are not a big part of the team or are out of the league not long after. But that happens with players drafted early too.

For the purpose of this exercise, we are looking at every draft class in the history of the Denver Broncos and identifying the 10 biggest draft steals in team history. To be included on the list, a player had to be drafted in the fourth round or later. Who brought the team the most value from their late-round draft slot?

10 biggest draft steals in Denver Broncos history

Mark Jackson, Denver Broncos
Super Bowl XXII - Denver Broncos v Washington Redskins / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

. player. 492. Mark Jackson. . Round 6, Pick No. 161. 1986. Mark Jackson. Mark Jackson. 10

In 1986, the Broncos found Mark Jackson out of Purdue late in the draft. He never turned heads while he was in college and caught just 51 total passes and scored six touchdowns during his time with the school.

The Broncos took a shot on him as a new target for John Elway and it worked out well for the team. He caught 38 passes as a rookie and though he was often the least recognized member of the "Three Amigos" wide receiver trio that the team had at the time, he is the player that caught the game-tying touchdown pass to cap off "The Drive" in Cleveland in the AFC Championship Game during that same rookie season.

He finished his time in Denver with 276 receptions for 4,746 yards and 24 touchdowns. He will never be mentioned in a conversation talking about the best wide receivers in team history, but for a sixth-round pick, he did quite well.

. . player. Mike Anderson. Round 6, Pick No. 189. 2000. Mike Anderson, RB. Mike Anderson, RB. 9. 2456

In 2000, the Broncos found a running back out of Utah to add to their roster as a depth piece. Anderson was a strong running back in college, averaging around five yards per carry and scoring 22 touchdowns in two seasons at Utah, but he still didn't get too much attention going into this draft.

He joined the Broncos during that 2000 season and made an immediate impact. He rushed for 1,487 yards and 15 touchdowns that year en route to being named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In a game against the New Orleans Saints, he rushed for 251 yards, which still stands as the most ever in a game for the Broncos. He also became the first rookie in NFL history to have three games with 175 yards or more on the ground.

Anderson dealt with several injuries after that rookie season and missed the entire 2004 season. He finished his Broncos career with 3,822 yards rushing and scored 36 touchdowns on the ground.