The 3rd Round Draft Pick History of the Denver Broncos

May 21, 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos middle linebacker Nate Irving (56) and linebacker Mike Mohamed (53) during organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Moving on in the Broncos Draft Success series, we find ourselves at the third round. To review, we are using Chad Reuter’s chart linked from as a baseline for this study. The 3rd Round of the 2012 NFL Draft consisted of the 64th through 95th picks. Reuter states that picks 51-80 have a 21.3% and picks 81-120, an 8% chance of starting 56 games in their first five seasons.

From 1967-2011, the Denver Broncos have selected 39 players in the third round of the NFL Draft. Four of those players (10.2%), including Maurice Clarett, were complete busts and never played a game in the league. Eight of those players (20.5%) appeared in less than 10 games.

Seven Broncos made it to at least one Pro Bowl (17.9%).

  • DB Billy Thompson - 3 Pro Bowls, 1x All-Pro
  • K Jason Elam - 3 Pro Bowls
  • OG George Goeddeke - 1 Pro Bowl
  • QB Brian Griese - 1 Pro Bowl
  • FB Detron Smith - 1 Pro Bowl
  • LB Michael Brooks - 1 Pro Bowl
  • OT Mike Current - 1 Pro Bowl

My study includes the 1251 draft picks selected in the ten year period between 1967-2008. I found that:

  • 139 made at least one Pro Bowl (11.1%).
  • 154 were All-Pros (12.3%).

Primary Starters

306 were the primary starter at their position for 5 or more seasons (24.4%).

Ten Broncos were the primary starter for 5 or more seasons (25.6%).
Nine Bronco players were the primary starter for 1 to 4 seasons (23%).

Games Started

306 started 56 or more games (25.3%).

7 Broncos started 100 or more games (17.9%)
9 Broncos started 56 or more games (23%)


76 total players were complete busts (6%)

9 Broncos appeared in 100 or more games (23%).
13 Broncos appeared in 75 or more games (33.3%).
19 Broncos appeared in 50 or more games (48.7%).

A 3rd round pick projects as a starter in their 2nd to 3rd year and a competent back up until then. Let’s see how the last seven picks by the Broncos have fared.

  • 2011 - Nate Irving - Appeared in 15 games last season, mainly on Special Teams.
  • 2010 - J.D. Walton - Has started all 32 games possible.
  • 2010 - Eric Decker - Appeared in 30 games, starting 13.
  • 2007 - Ryan Harris - Appeared in 11 games as a Rookie. Started 34 of the next 35 games.
  • 2005 - Karl Paymah - Played in 13 games as a Rookie. Started 3 games in his 3rd year. In 4 seasons as a Bronco, he played 60 games, starting five.
  • 2005 - Domonique Foxworth - Started 7 games as a Rookie. In 3 seasons with the Broncos, he played in 46 games and started 18 of them.
  • 2005 - Maurice Clarett - Cut in Training Camp

It appears that my statement above rings true for the Broncos recent 3rd round draft picks. Given that last year’s pick Nate Irving did not have the benefit of an offseason to help prepare him for his Rookie year, I’m looking for some kind of impact this year out of him. This is doubly important because of D.J. Williams impending suspension. Someone among the Linebackers will have to step up and fill the void. Of course, we can hope more than one Linebacker will step up and make the "Teflon Dyme" expendable.

Go Broncos!

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