NFL Draft: Top Ten Denver Broncos Draft Successes: #6 Karl Mecklenburg

We are well on our way to the biggest Denver Broncos Draft Success which, as many of you have pointed out, feels a lot better than the biggest Draft Bust list felt a couple weeks ago.  So far we have looked at Chris Hinton(#10), Steve Atwater(#9) and Elvis Dumervil(#8) and Tom Jackson at #7.

We are getting into the fun part of the list.  Back to a time when the NFL Draft went into double-digit rounds.  Let's not waste any time....

On to #6 on the list...

#6 - Karl Mecklenburg - LB, Minnesota(1983, 12th Round, 310th Pick)

Think about it.  Karl Mecklenburg was drafted in the 12th Round of the 1983 Draft.  The same draft that saw John Elway go #1 overall.  The same draft that saw Gary Kubiak selected by the Broncos in the 8th Round.  Needless to say, the Broncos did OK in the 1983 Draft.  Even the most optimistic coach, however, couldn't have thought they were getting the type of player, the type of leader the Broncos received in Mecklenburg.

Mecklenburg played 12 years for the Broncos, continuing a tradition at linebacker that started a decade before when the Broncos selected players like Randy Gradishar and Tom Jackson. A six-time Pro Bowler, Mechlenburg's 79.5 sacks still rank 2nd on the Broncos all-time list, and his reaction after Ernest Byner's fumble in the 1987 AFC Championship Game is one of my favorite memories ever when I think about the Broncos of the 1980's.

The Albino Rhino retired due to injury after the 1994 season and was enshrined in the Broncos Ring of Fame in 2001 along with another Broncos great, Dennis Smith.

Mecklenburg continues to be an inspiration in the community as founder of the REACH foundation.  He also wrote the book 'Heart of a Student Athlete', a book designed to help young athletes and their families as they head into sports.


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