This is part one one of two parts on past drafts. Part two is What The Broncos Lack?
We in Bronco World are taking a serious look at the up coming NFL draft. This is good. So I decided to go back over all the drafts from GM / Coach John Ralston until the present. I listed the drafts by coaches and years. Being a Bronco fan since 1960 it was interesting. It was a nostalgically and educational. When I concluded this journey I realized how awful some of our drafts picks really were. Remember Ted Gregory / 1988 and Clay Brown 1981?
I thought, how does one measure the success of a draft? One way was to look at all the players that did not make the team in the first year. Another way was to look at the number of players who were cut from the team by the third year. Then there is the exact opposite. How many drafted players played a really long time? Player longevity has to be measured position by position. Being a fan for 54 years allowed me to think back and remember the Broncos that played their hearts out. They were great to me. Some of the neighborhood kids and myself delivered newspapers to former Broncos / Rockets, i.e. Nuggets. We played basketball with Julius Keys, Spencer Haywood and a few other ABA players. That was real fun for us kids back then. Back to the Broncos, Then another measurement is the players that made the Pro Bowl and the Hall of Fame. To consider all these factors was not necessary. I am not a scientist. I am not trying to prove anything. I really like the Broncos and enjoy talking football. I enjoy many of the Fanposts an articles on MHR. Spending a day or two looking over previous drafts was for fun. I did not grade the drafts. You can do that.
Being a football enthusiast I know that generally players that stay in the NFL a long time do so for a reason. Players that stay with the same team do so for a reason. So with this in mind I was curious to learn the longevity of players from previous drafts. This would allow me to get a general feel for the quality of the draft. Yet, I understand that there are so many areas to consider. For the draft use to be 17 draft rounds, then 12 draft rounds and now just 7 draft rounds. When the Broncos became a AFL team in 1960 there were about 12 NFL teams. Now there are 32 teams. Could you imagine having a 17 round draft with 32 teams? I cannot! Some of the old old timers may want to comment on this. The original roster size was 16…? The point is that there are so many factors involved in a NFL draft. It has become an event!! How can we judge a 17 round draft in Coach Ralston’s day with a 7 round draft in Coach Fox’s day? How can we judge a draft when there were 16 player to the present day when there are 53 players on a roster? How can we judge a draft when there were 12 teams to the present day when there are 32 teams? This is why I set some very basic limits and rules.
• Running Backs with less than 5 years were not listed except from 2010 forward.
• Receivers with less than 7 years were not listed except from 2008 forward.
• Linebackers with less than 7 years were not listed except from 2008 forward.
• Offensive Line men with less than 9 years were not listed except from 2006 forward.
• Defensive Line men with less than 9 years were not listed except from 2006 forward.
• Quarterbacks, Kickers and Punters with less than 9 years were not listed except from 2006 forward.
There are some exceptions… Also some players were drafted and traded. They are included out a sense of fairness. There are a few players who are not listed because they played fewer years than listed in my criteria above. Also with so many players names, there maybe some misspellings…
A Degree of Bias:
Even though it is to early in the longevity process to know for sure how well Elway’s FO has done in the draft they have all the signs of TOTALLY AMAZING! One marker is 20 of 23 drafted players are still with the Broncos. This will drop as time passes. Yet in comparison with previous drafts this is an amazing accomplishment. Reviewing the drafts below shows what a remarkable job Elway’s FO has done. It will be interesting to see who will be drafted this year. Yet, whoever is drafted will have been very meticulously researched. Elway uses draft choices like he buys dealerships, very carefully. Elway’s FO is building a team that will be great for years to come!
Bronco's 2013 Roster:
In 2013 - 30% of the 53 man roster were Free Agents… (lets not get tangled up over the numbers here or the percentage. The point is that we have a load of free agents filling roster positions that one day in the future if Elway’s FO is successful will be filled by draft choices.
Of the 53 players on the active roster in 2013 16 were free agent players at the beginning of the season. Brandon Marshall LB, and Winston Justice T, we added and Trinton Holiday WR,, Shaun Phillips LB, Paris Lenon LB, Jacob Hester RB, were let go.
Wes Welker WR, Louis Vasquez G, Jacob Tamme TE, Mitch Unrein DT, Manny Ramirez C, Matt Prater K, Brandon Marshall LB, Terrance Knighton DT, Mike Adams S, Winston Justice T, Joel Dreessen TE, Andre Caldwell WR, Trinton Holiday WR,, Shaun Phillips LB, Paris Lenon LB, Jacob Hester RB,
In 2013 - 11% of the 53 man roster were undrafted players.
Steven Johnson LB, Duke Ihenacho S, Chris Harris Jr. CB, Tony Carter CB, Aaron Brewer LS/ MLB, and C. J. Anderson RB.
Almost half of our team were not draft picks. Ouch!!
Numbers Following The GM / Caches Name:
The percentage is the number of draft rounds divided into the number of players.
The parenthesis following the players name and position played are the years in the league.
I did not calculate for the years a player was in the league.
John Ralston 1972 - 1976
- 79 draft rounds w 13 Players - 16.4%
72 - Riley Odoms TE (12)
73 - Otic Armstrong RB (8), Barney Chavious DE (13), Paul Howard G (13), Tommy Jackson LB (14)
74 - Randy Gradishar LB (10), Claudie Minor T (9)
75 - Louis Wright DB (12), Rick Upchurch WR (9) Rubin Carter NT (12) Steve Foley DB (11)
76 - Tom Glassic G (8), Larry Evans LB (8)
Red Miller 1977 - 1980
- 34 draft rounds with 9 players - 26.4%
77 - Rob Lytle RB (7), Billy Bryan C (12)
78 - Don Latimer NT (6)
79 - Luke Prestridge P (6) Kevin Clark T (7), Keith Bishop G (9)
80 - Rulon Jones DE (9), Rick Parros RB (6), Mike Harden DB (11)
Dan Reeves 1981 - 1992
- 134 draft rounds with 30 - 22.4%
81 - Dennis Smith DB (14), Ken Lanier T (14), Steve Busick LB (7)
82 - Sammy Winder RB (9), Ken Woodard LB (8), Gerald Willhite RB (7)
83 - Carl Mecklenburg LB (12), Gary Kubiak QB (9), Mark Cooper T (7), Chris Hinton G (13)
84 - Andre Townsend DE (7), Randy Robbins DB (9), Clarence Kay TE (9), Gene Lang RB (7)
85 - Simon Fletcher LB (11), Steve Sewell RB (8), Vance Johnson WR (10)
86 - Mark Jackson WR (9)
87 - Tyrone Braxton DB (13), Michael Brooks LB (10)
88 - Gerald Perry (8)
89 - Steve Atwater DB (11), Bobby Humphrey, Doug Widell G (9), Bobby Humphrey RB (5)
90 - Shannon Sharp TE (14)
91 - Keith Taylor LB (16), Reggie Johnson TE (7)
92 - Shane Dronett DE (11), Tommy Maddox QB (9)
Wade Phillips 1993 - 1994
- 15 draft rounds with 7 players - 46.6%
93 - Dan Williams DE (8), Glyn Milburn RB (9), Jeff Robinson DE (16)
94 - Keith Burns LB (13), Tom Nalen C (15), Allen Aldridge LB (8), Randy Fuller CB (6)
Mike Shanahan 1995 - 2008
- 111 draft rounds with 43 players - 38.7%
95 - Terell Davis RB (8), Byron Chamberlin WR (9), Jason Elam K (17)
96 - John Mobley, OLB (8), Troy James DB (11)
97 - Trevor Pryce DT (14), Dan Neil G (8)
99 - Al Wilson MLB (8), Montee Reagor DE (10), Olandis Gary RB (6), Desmond Clark TE (13), Billy Miller WR (9) David Bowens LB (12), Lennie Friedman C (10)
00 - Deltha O'Neal CB (10), Ian Gold LB (8), Cooper Carlisle G (13), Mike Anderson RB (8), Kenoy Kennedy SAF (8)
01 - Reggie Hayward DE (9), Ben Hamilton C (10)
02 - Ashley Lelie WR (8), Clinton Portis RB (9), Jeff Putzler TE (8)
03 - Nick Easton DT (10)
04 - D.J. Williams OLB (11+), Tatum Bell RB (5)
05 - Darrent Williams CB (2), Chris Kuper G (8)
06 - Jay Cutler QB (9), Brandon Marshall WR (9+), Elvis Dumervil DE (9+), Domenik Hixon WR (9)
07 - Ryan Harris OT (7+)
08 - Ryan Clady LG (7+), Eddie Royal WR (7+), Spenson Lawson FB (7+), Peyton Hillis RB (7+), Kory Lichtensteiger C (6)
Josh McDaniels 2009 - 2010
- 19 draft rounds with 7 players - 36.8%
09 - Knowshon Moreno RB (6+), Robert Ayers LB (6+), David Bruton DB (6+)
10 - Eric Decker WR (5+), J.D. Watson C (5+), Zane Beadles G (5+), Demarylus Thomas WR (5+)
John Fox 2011 - Present
- 23 draft rounds with 20 players - 86.9%
11 - Von Miller LB (4+), Rahim Moore DB (4+), Orlando Franklin OT (4+), Nate Irving OLB (4+), Quinton Carter DB (4+), Julis Thomas TE (4+), Virgil Green TE (4+)
12 - Derek Wolf (3+), Brock Osweller QB (3+), Malik Jackson DE (3+), Danny Trevathan MLB (3+), Omar Bolden CB (3+), Ronnie Hillman RB (3+)
This is part one one of two parts on past drafts. Part two is What The Broncos Lack?
Info for this post was gathered from: