Most unlikely schools to ever produce a Denver Broncos star

The Broncos have found some outstandings players in places you have never heard of such as Savannah State and Yankton.
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The 2024 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away and the Denver Broncos need to be leaving no stone unturned in their battle to get things turned around and going in the right direction.

The draft is largely a crapshoot in many ways and teams have been known to find diamonds in the least likeliest of places. That is why the draft is so important. Everyone knows the stars and the big names from the big schools. But the best general managers are the ones that find the little-known player from the largely unknown school that becomes a star.

So when you watch your team draft on day three on Saturday and you think those sixth and seventh-round picks are just a waste of time, that is not always the case. Huge contributions can be made by players who the vast majority of football fans have never even heard of. Football is a great game played all over the country and now, many other parts of the world. So for every big name that comes out of Alabama, Michigan or Ohio State, there are players from all over the league that come out of programs with far less notoriety. And in some cases, they become major pieces of a team's success.

Here are five players who became stars for the Broncos despite playing at schools that are nothing more than a small blip on the radar of college football. In order to be included in this list, the player had to be drafted by the Broncos or signed as an undrafted free agent.

Most unlikely schools to ever produce a Denver Broncos star

Lyle Alzado, Denver Broncos
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Lyle Alzado, 1971- Yankton College

To this day, Lyle Alzado remains one of the most interesting players in Broncos history and he came from Yankton College.

Where is Yankton College, you ask? That would be Yankton, South Dakota, which had to be a bit of a culture shock back in the late 1960s for a kid who was born in Brooklyn. Alzado went there after playing for two years at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas. Alzado was asked to leave that team and he stated that happened due to him becoming friends with a teammate who was black.

At Yankton, Alzado competed in the NAIA, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, so he wasn't even in the NCAA. At the time, Broncos scout Stan Jones went on a scouting trip that landed him at Montana Tech in Butte, Montana. He was there to watch a running back for Montana Tech, who were squaring off against Yankton. Instead, it was Alzado, a player not really on the NFL radar at the time, that caught the eye of Jones.

The Broncos ended up using a fourth-round pick on Alzado in 1971 based on Jones' assessment and he became one of the best defensive players on the team during a time when the Broncos were known for the "Orange Crush" defense.

He made the Pro Bowl in 1977 and 1978 for the Broncos but a contract dispute between he and the organization before the 1979 season led him to be traded to the Cleveland Browns.

Alzado finished his time in Denver with 64.5 sacks and 14 fumble recoveries. He was also an amateur boxer who once fought Muhammad Ali in an exhibition match and he appeared in some movies as well. Sadly, Alzado passed away at the age of 43 in 1992. He was quite open about his abuse of steroids near the end of his life and unfortunately, is most remembered for that by many.

However, Alzado was a great football player, far better than he is often given credit for and the Broncos did an excellent job of finding him when and where they did.