Broncos best safeties: Where does Justin Simmons fit on team's all-time list?

Justin Simmons spent eight years with the Denver Broncos and became one of the best safeties in team history. His tenure in Denver came to an end on Thursday, so let's assess his career and where it ranks among the Broncos' greats.

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Dennis Smith, Steve Atwater
NFL Hall of Fame Centennial Class of 2020 / Pool/GettyImages

The heavy hitters

Any list of great Broncos safeties has to have two names at the top, Steve Atwater and Dennis Smith. They made up the best safety combination in Broncos history and one of the best the NFL has ever seen.

Atwater is one of the best safeties of all time, regardless of team, and that was cemented by his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020. A first-round pick out of Arkansas in 1989, Atwater spent 10 seasons in Denver and he went to the Pro Bowl in eight of those.

But the accolades don't stop there. Atwater, who finished his career with over 1,100 tackles and 24 interceptions, was a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team while helping the Broncos win back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998.

Dennis Smith was no slouch either. The former USC Trojan was selected in the first round of the 1981 draft and spent his entire 14-year career in Denver. Though he was never a part of a team that won the Super Bowl, he played in the big game three times.

Smith went to six Pro Bowls and had 30 interceptions during his career, which ended following the 1994 season. He was later inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.

Atwater and Smith are best remembered for their hard-nosed nature, willing to lay out ball carriers with devastating hits. They turned into enforcers in the defensive backfield in Denver and are beloved by fans to this day for their style of play.

It's hard not to call them the two best safeties in team history. So, where does that leave Simmons?