Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions battles the blocking of offensive tackle Ryan Harris of the Denver Broncos. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Seventeen players wore the #74 jersey for the Denver Broncos in franchise history. Thirteen were Offensive Linemen and four were Defensive Linemen. There are overwhelming odds that say an Offensive Tackle will take this accolade. Here's how they line up.
Evan Pilgrim OL 1999
Harry Swayne RT 1997-98
Bill Schultz OT 1995
Harvey Salem RT 1991
Bill Lobenstein DE 1987
Dan Remsberg RT 1986-87
Winford Hood G 1984-85
Jerry Baker NT 1983
Andy Maurer LT 1977
Scott Parrish OT 1976
Mike Current RT 1967-75
Lee Bernet RT 1965-66
Frank Atkinson DE 1964
Gordon Holz DT 1960-63
Gordon "Gordy" Holz was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 23rd round (270th overall) of the 1955 NFL Draft. He came to the Broncos in 1960, but wore #73 that year. Gordy switched to #74 in 1961 and played for 3 seasons at Right Defensive Tackle. He started all 42 games and made one interception. Holz played one more season with the New York Jets before calling it a career.
Frank Atkinson was drafted by the Steelers in the 8th round (108th overall) of the 1963 NFL Draft. He played his rookie year in Pittsburgh and came to Denver in 1964. He played 3 games for the Broncos.
Lee Bernet went Undrafted out of Wisconsin, joining the Broncos in 1965 and playing through 1966. In those two seasons, Bernet started 9 of 21 games at Right Tackle.
Scott Parrish was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 5th round (127th overall) in the 1976 NFL Draft. He never made the final roster in New Orleans, but he dressed for 2 games late in the 1976 season for the Broncos.
Jerry Baker went Undrafted out of Tulane. He played 5 games for the Broncos in 1983.
Andy Maurer was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 3rd round (64th overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. He spent 4 years with the Falcons and also played for the Saints, Vikings and 49ers before joining the Broncos. Andy played one season (1977) at Left Tackle and started 13 games including Super Bowl XII.
Winford Hood was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 8th round (207th overall) of the 1984 NFL Draft. He started 5 of 32 games during 1984-85 wearing #74 for the Broncos. Hood wore another number during the next 3 seasons.
Evan Pilgrim was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 3rd round (87th overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played two seasons with the Bears. Evan spent part of 1998 with the Tennessee Oilers, but was traded to Atlanta in 1999, but didn't make the final cut in Training Camp. He was on the Broncos team roster early in 1999, but never saw any game action. Ironically, Pilgrim's journey to him back to Atlanta. He played in the last 3 regular season games and ended up playing against the Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII. Evan appeared as a "prison guard" defensive lineman in the 2005 film "The Longest Yard," starring Adam Sandler.
Dan Remsberg was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 9th round (252nd overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft. He played for the Broncos in 1986-87. Dan started 1 of 21 games in Denver as the 3rd String Right Tackle. In July of 1988, the Broncos traded Remsberg to the Philadelphia Eagles for an undisclosed, conditional 1989 draft pick. A week later, he was back in Denver after failing his physical because he had sprained an ankle the day before the trade. In mid-August, the Broncos put him on Injured Reserve and he was later released.
Bill Lobenstein was signed by the Broncos to a Free-Agent contract on February 08, 1986. He played played 3 games at Defensive End for the Broncos in 1987 as a replacement player during the NFL Player Strike.
Harvey Salem was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 2nd round (30th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with the Oilers and another four with the Detroit Lions before coming to Denver in 1991. Harvey appeared in 10 games for the Broncos that year and then moved on to Green Bay the following year.
Bill Schultz was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the 4th round (94th overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft. He was a Colt for 4 years and then came to Denver in 1995. Bill appeared in 2 games with the Broncos at the end of the 1995 season. He played in Chicago the next year.
Cornell Green was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an Undrafted Free Agent out of Central Florida in 1999. He debuted in 2002 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and earned a Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XXXVII. Cornell played for the Denver Broncos during 2004–2005. He appeared in 14 games as a Bronco and then returned to Tampa Bay in 2006. Green played for the Oakland Raiders from 2007–2009. He joined the Buffalo Bills last year and is still on their roster.
Mike Current was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 3rd round (58th overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft. He wore #74 for 8 seasons as a Bronco from 1967-75. Current started 105 games at Right Tackle, recovering 4 Fumbles. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1969.
Harry Swayne was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 7th round (190th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft. He spent 4 years in Tampa Bay and 6 years in San Diego before joining the Broncos in 1997. Swayne played two seasons in Denver (1997-98), appearing in 7 games in 1997 and starting all 16 games at Right Tackle in 1998. Harry is one of the few players to have started a Super Bowl with three different teams: Super Bowl XXIX with the Chargers, Super Bowl XXXIII with the Broncos and Super Bowl XXXV with the Ravens. Swayne collected 3 Super Bowl Rings (SB XXXII, XXXIII, and XXXV) in his career and started 13 of 18 Playoff games.
was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 7th round (199th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. He started at right tackle in Super Bowl XXXIII for the Falcons in 1999. He stayed in Atlanta through 2001 before signing with Denver in 2002. Salaam played two seasons at Left Tackle for the Broncos, starting all 30 games he played. Ephraim recovered one Fumble in 2003. After his stint with the Broncos, Salaam played for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2004–2005), Houston Texans (2006–2008), Detroit Lions (2009) and once more with the Houston Texans (2009–2010). He is currently a free agent.
Ryan Harris was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 3rd round (70th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. In his rookie year, Harris missed most of the preseason and was declared inactive for the first 5 games after having back surgery. He played primarily on Special Teams in each of the final 11 games in 2007.
2008 was Ryan's first year as a starter. He started all 16 games at Right Tackle for the Broncos and played all 1,019 offensive snaps. Harris allowed just 2.5 Sacks, helping Denver set a club single-season record with 12 sacks allowed that tied for the fewest in the NFL.
In the 2009 season, Harris only started and played in 8 games. He dislocated two toes in a game on November 1, 2009. X-rays revealed a fracture, which ultimately required surgery. The injury kept him out the rest of season and was placed on Injured Reserve on December 9.
In 2010, Harris missed the first 3 games due to an ankle injury, but started the final 8 games at Right Tackle. The Broncos rushing attack improved a league best 1.8 yards per carry after he was reinserted into the starting lineup in Week 10.
In 4 seasons with the Broncos, Ryan has started 34 of 46 games. He made 3 Tackles in 2008 and recovered a Fumble last year for his only recordable stats.
Harris has allowed just 6.75 sacks and been penalized 7 times (6 false starts, 1 holding) in 34 starts at Right Tackle according to Stats Inc.
The fact that Harris has lost significant time due to injuries has led the Broncos Front Office to draft his replacement in Orlando Franklin. Harris is a better pass blocker than run blocker and Franklin's strength is run blocking. This leads me to believe that the Broncos will focus more on running the ball this season. Denver's Front Office hasn't bailed on Ryan, they gave him his original (3rd round) tender. They just aren't willing to give him a high dollar deal. If he stays, there will be an open competition with the rookie Franklin for the starting job at Right Tackle.
Here's another number that I feel calls for a membership vote. I have selected the four best candidates from above and listed them in the poll. However, to cover the entire field, I will give the "other" category a voice as well. So MHR, you tell me. Who is the Greatest Bronco to wear #74?