The Greatest Denver Bronco Team: Safety

Brian Dawkins doesn't make the list in name, but he's there in spirit riding another safety on the lists coat tails. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The results so far:

Offense

Quarterback: John Elway

Backup: Jake Plummer

Running Back: 1)Terrell Davis 2) Floyd Little (Added due to deserving it!)

Wide Receivers (3): Rod Smith, Lionel Taylor, Ed McCaffrey

Offensive Linemen (5): Tom Nalen, Gary Zimmerman, Mark Schlereth, Ryan Clady and Matt Lepsis

Tight Ends - Shannon Sharpe & Riley Odoms

Defense

Defensive Line: Elvis Dumervil & Rulon Jones

Defensive Tackle: Trevor Pryce & Rubin Carter

Linebacker: Karl Mecklenburg, Randy Gradishar, Tom Jackson & Al Wilson

Cornerback: Champ Bailey & Louis Wright

Now we are onto the last defensive position, safety.

Bill Thompson - 1969-1981

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 1969 draft out of Eastern Shore, William Thompson came in and made an immediate impact as both a return man and safety. He spent all 13 seasons of his career in Denver and say time as a cornerback early in his career but spent the majority of his career as a hard hitting strong safety. He also nabbed at least one interception every single season of his career and only missed 11 games his entire career. He is also the current Broncos leader in defensive touchdowns with 7, two more than any other Bronco player.

Broncos Stats:

- 179 Games played
- 3 Pro Bowls
- 1 All-Pro
- 40 Interceptions
- 7 Defensive touchdowns

Dennis Smith - 1981-1994


When Dennis Smith was taken in the 1st round, 15th overall, the Broncos had high expectations for him, but his rookie year he saw limited playing time. His second season was one of improvement but was cut short because of injury. Finally getting into his groove in his third season he would begin a consistent 14 year career, all of which was spent with the Broncos. While never a top tier cover safety, he had the skill set to do just about everything, play the run, rush the passer or cover the middle of the field.

Broncos Stats:

- 184 Games played
- 6 Pro Bowls
- 30 Interceptions
- 15 Sacks
- 1 Defensive touchdown

Steve Atwater - 1989-1998

Possibly the best known Denver Broncos safety by the younger generation, Atwater was part of the group that ownership and coach Mike Shanahan hoped would help change the Broncos defense when they drafted him in the 1st round, 20th overall. An incredibly durable and tough player who only missed 5 games as a Bronco. A key leader of the Broncos defense both prior to and during the Super Bowl years.

Broncos Stats:

- 155 Games played
- 8 Pro Bowls
- 2 All-Pro
- 24 Interceptions
- 5 Sacks
- 1 Defensive touchdown

Steve Foley - 1976-1986

Foley was another late round gem that turned into a consistent player for the Broncos for 11 seasons playing both cornerback and safety. While he never made a Pro Bowl, he was one of the best safeties in terms of coverage ability the Broncos have had. While he was only an 8th round pick, he averaged 4.4 interceptions per season and never had below 2 interceptions in a season. He did miss the 1982 season with injury, but the remainder of his career he was a steady hand for the defense.

Broncos Stats:

- 150 Games played
- 44 Interceptions
- 2 Defensive touchdowns

John Lynch - 2004-2007

A future Hall of Fame safety, Lynch spent the best years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he decided to spend the last four seasons with the Broncos. While he made the Pro Bowl all four seasons with the Broncos, part of that may have been on legacy along with above average play. This spot could easily have gone to Brian Dawkins, both decided to end their careers in Denver, both were successful in there limited time and both were incredibly tough, in the box safeties who could do everything. If this were a survey of career work, Lynch and Dawk wouldn't likely be on this list, but in terms of what they did in their limited time, Lynch and Dawk belong.

Broncos Stats:

- 60 Games played
- 4 Pro Bowls
- 3 Interceptions
- 7 Sacks

Goose Gonsoulin - 1960-1967

A real old timer, Gonsoulin was one of the best late round picks in NFL history, starting 7 of his 8 seasons with Denver. A player who had the size, speed and instincts to be anywhere and make any kind of play, he was a terror to opposing defenses. Sadly sacks weren't recorded so we don't have any official numbers, but unofficial numbers are pretty impressive. He also made the Pro Bowl every season in Denver except for one. Possibly the most consistent safety the Broncos have had as well, averaging 6 interceptions a season.

Broncos Stats:

- 94 Games played
- 5 Pro Bowls
- 2 All-Pro
- 43 Interceptions
- 1 Defensive touchdown

So there you go, pick the two best safeties the Broncos have ever had:

Pick the Two Best Broncos Safeties
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