Fourteen players wore #78 in Denver Broncos history. Seven Offensive Linemen, five Defensive Ends, a Defensive Tackle and a Linebacker. Here are the candidates for the Greatest Bronco to wear #78.
Larry Jackson DE 1995
Don Maggs T 1993-94
Archie Harris OL 1987
Winford Hood G 1986-88
Rich Stachowski DE 1983
Bruce Radford DE 1979
Marv Montgomery T 1971-76
Ken Criter LB 1969-70
Jim White DE 1976
Tom Cichowski T 1968-69
Marvin Davis DT 1966
Leroy Moore DE 1964-65
Leroy Moore went Undrafted out of Fort Valley State (GA.). He signed with the Broncos in 1964 after spending the previous 4 years with the Buffalo Bills and the Boston Patriots. In his 2 seasons with Denver, Moore played 26 games at Right Defensive End, made one interception and returned it 70 yards.
Marvin Davis was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 15th round (205th overall) of the 1965 NFL Draft. He played one game with the Broncos in 1966.
Tom Cichowski was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd round (30th overall) of the 1966 NFL Draft. He played 13 games at Right Tackle for the Broncos from 1968-69.
Jim White was drafted by the New England Patriots in the 3rd round (73rd overall) of the 1972 NFL Draft. He played for the Patriots, Oilers and Seahawks before joining the Broncos in 1976. White started 1 of 7 games that year and recovered one Fumble.
Ken Criter signed with the Broncos in 1969 as an Undrafted Free Agents out of Wisconsin. Criter had a 6-year career with the Broncos, wearing two different jerseys. In his first 2 seasons, he wore #78. Ken started 1 of 28 games, returned 5 kickoffs for a 10.2 average and recovered one Fumble. Criter wore #53 from 1971-74.
Bruce Radford was drafted by the Broncos in the 3rd round (77th overall) of the 1979 NFL Draft. He played 16 games for Denver in 1979, recovering one Fumble. Radford spent the next 2 seasons with Tampa Bay and St. Louis.
Rich Stachowski went Undrafted out of California. He joined the Broncos in 1983 and played 14 games at Nose Tackle.
Archie Harris was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 7th round (193rd overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played in 3 games for the Broncos that season, his only one in the NFL.
Don Maggs was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 2nd round (29th overall) of the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. He played six seasons for the Oilers before joining the Broncos in 1993. Don started 3 of 16 games in his two years with Denver.
Larry Jackson career spanned 4 seasons playing in both the NFL and NFL Europe. Jackson played for the Denver Broncos (1995), Arizona Cardinals (1996) and Miami Dolphins (1996-97), and later was allocated to NFL Europe where he played one season for the Barcelona Dragons (1998). He is now the Director of Sports Performance at the University of Houston.
Winford Hood was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 8th round (207th overall) of the 1984 NFL Draft. Hood wore #74 during his first 2 seasons in Denver, then changed over to #78 for the final 3 years of his career. From 1986-88, Winford started 4 of 15 games for the Broncos.
Marv Montgomery was drafted by Denver in the 1st round (12th overall) of the 1971 NFL Draft. He played 5 years and part of a 6th with the Broncos, starting 32 of 57 games, mostly at Left Tackle from 1971-76.
Ryan Clady was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round (12th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. He was inserted at Left Tackle from the get-go and has started all 48 games since. Clady is credited with allowing the fewest sacks (0.5) in the NFL among all 16-game starting tackles in 2008 according to Stats Inc. and was called for just 3 penalties on the year (2 false start, 1 holding). In fact, he didn't give up a full sack in his first 20 career starts, an NFL record since STATS Inc. began tracking the statistic in 1994.
Ryan made the Pro Bowl and was a 1st-Team All-Pro in 2009. This made him only the 5th Tackle since the 1970 NFL merger to be named a 1st-team Associated Press All-Pro by his 2nd professional season. Clady was just the 11th tackle in NFL history to earn Pro Bowl honors by his 2nd professional season. He joined Gary Zimmerman (1995-97) and Tony Jones (1998) as one of 3 Tackles in Denver history to receive Pro Bowl honors.
There is no reason why Ryan Clady cannot become the Greatest #78 in Broncos history, but with only 3 years in to what appears to be a very good career, he has a little more to attain that level.
The Greatest Bronco to wear #78 is...
Matt Lepsis was signed by the Broncos as an Undrafted Free Agent out of Colorado in 1997. He played 11 seasons in Denver from 1997-2007. After sitting on the injured list in 1997, Lepsis made his debut with the Broncos in 1998, playing in all 16 games on Special Teams. In 1999, he became the starting Right Tackle. From then on, Matt started 122 of 123 games at Right and Left Tackle through 2006. In Week 7 of the 2006 season, he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee Oct. 22 at Cleveland. The Broncos defeated the Browns 17-7, but Lepsis landed on Injured Reserve. He recovered from the torn ACL to start all 16 games in 2007, but felt that his performance slipped. On January 1, 2008 he announced to the team that he would be retiring.
Lepsis had signed a 4-year contract extension in March 2006 that was to pay him $25 million. He left more than $9 million on the table, but walked away on his own terms. He officially retired on February 12, 2008.
For his career, Lepsis appeared in 150 games and started 133. He recorded 5 Tackles on Special Teams and recovered 4 Fumbles. He won a Ring playing in Super Bowl XXXIII and was named Sports Illustrated All-Pro in 2005.
MHR gives a Mile High Salute to Matt Lepsis as the Greatest Bronco to wear #78.