The Denver Broncos have had their share of ups and downs in the NFL Draft. Over the next few weeks, we'll look at the highest of highs and lowest of lows. We'll start with the Top-10 Draft Busts in Broncos history, followed by the Top-10 Draft picks in team history. Agree or disagree, this will help us pass the time as we march full-steam ahead towards the 2011 NFL Draft.
We move on to #6, one of the greatest examples of the Broncos flawed draft strategy under Mike Shanahan. Does that mean that every pick by the Broncos was a bad one? Of course not, but there was a time when the Broncos looked at the draft and free agency backwards. We can get more into that later, but let's focus on the #6 Broncos Draft Bust of All-Time:
#6 - Marcus Nash, WR - Tennessee(1998, 1st Round, 30th Overall)
The Denver Broncos had just won the Super Bowl. They were primed to win another one. This is a time, of course, for teams that are drafting late in the first round to find ways to bolster the roster. Sometimes that can be done by trading down with teams looking to move back into the first round. the New England Patriots have made a habit of such moves and this year they have two picks in each of the first 4 rounds. You can also stay where you are and pick the BPA(Best Player Available). Even if you have a position you think is solid, get talented football players anyway. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles do a good job of this.
One thing you DON'T want to do is to reach for a player you think will fill a need. Marcus Nash was an example of this. Perhaps the Broncos thought John Elway could get the same production out of Nash that Peyton Manning did at Tennessee.
I've talked about this before but it bears repeating. I once heard former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist talk about the Broncos draft strategy during the late-90's, early 2000's. He said the Broncos would pick a perceived need and try and fill that need. That's all well and good, but that philosophy lends itself to reaching for players. As we have seen with this list, it has come back to bite the Broncos again and again - both before and after the Shanahan Era.
As for Nash, he caught 4 passes for 76 yards as a rookie for the Broncos in 1998. After just two games in 1999, the Broncos had seen enough. Nash was traded to the Miami Dolphins on September 21 for the player picked right right before him in the '98 Draft, running back John Avery. Avery's stay in Denver was even shorter - he was cut during Training Camp in 2000.
Nash spent some time with the Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens but never caught another pass. He was out of football after the 2000 season.
That's not the end of the story, however. Nash found new football life in the Arena Football League in 2003 and almost immediately became a force. Playing for three teams from 2003 to 2008, Nash caught over 500 passes for over 6000 yards and 195 touchdowns. Nash was the Arena League's Offensive Player of the Year in 2004.
The story does have a sad ending, however. During a playoff game in 2008, Nash - playing for the Dallas Desperados, broke his neck. He underwent surgery and has recovered, but the injury ended his football career.
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