The Denver Broncos have had their share of ups and downs in the NFL Draft. Over the next few weeks, we'll look at the highest of highs and lowest of lows. We'll start with the Top-10 Draft Busts in Broncos history, followed by the Top-10 Draft picks in team history. Agree or disagree, this will help us pass the time as we march full-steam ahead towards the 2011 NFL Draft.
We start with Draft Bust #10. Let's be honest, the NFL Draft has not been kind to the Broncos in the past. Especially the early round selections. To limit the picks to 10 is the hard part. I'll do my best.
#9 - TOMMY MADDOX, QB - UCLA(1992, 1st Round, #25 Overall)
Sometimes I sit back and wonder what it would have been like back in the late-80's, early 90's if the internet of today existed. Could you imagine what Twitter, or a site like this one would be like the day Dan Reeves used a first round pick on a Quarterback, the quarterback he felt would replace John Elway?
That's exactly what Reeves did when he took Maddox, who had decided to enter the Draft after his Sophomore season at UCLA. Maddox was considered a talented quarterback, but was clearly not ready to step onto the field in the NFL, especially on a team with a future Hall of Famer. By this point, Elway had already led the Broncos to 3 Super Bowls - all losses - and many people were beginning to realize that Elway often times bailed out his Head Coach late in games when Reeves would finally let Elway control the football game.
The relationship between Elway and Reeves had grown sour, and by 1992 - when Reeves selected Maddox - it seemed a choice would have to be made - Pat Bowlen would have to pick the Head Coach who helped build the Broncos into a perennial winner or the quarterback who was a Legend in the making.
For Bowlen, the choice seemed simple. "We looked around the league and there is Jim Kelly and Dan Marino routinely throwing for 25 and 30 touchdown passes," Bowlen said, "and John's numbers were way down from that, and he is as good or better as those two and any of the rest. It made no sense."
Maddox actually started in 4 games for the Broncos in 1992. His 5 TDs and 9 INTs, to go along with a 56.4 RAT didn;t do much to help his - or Reeves' cause. Bowlen fired Reeves after the 1992 season. Maddox wasn't around Denver much longer. The Broncos traded Maddox to the Los Angeles Rams in August 1994, ending the PR nightmare. Elway, of course, went on to win 2 Super Bowls with the Broncos, including a win over Dan Reeves and the Atlanta Falcons in his final game - Super Bowl XXXIII.
Maddox was actually out of the NFL after 2005 before rekindling his career with a MVP season in the XFL. Maddox's performance caught the attention of the Pittsburgh Steelers who signed Maddox in the 2001 season. He went on to start 32 games for the Steelers over the next 5 seasons before getting hurt in Week 1 of the 2004 season. That gave a rookie - Ben Roethlisberger - his shot at the starting job and the rest is history.
Maddox was out of football for good after the 2005 season. His career stats - 36 starts, 48 touchdowns, 54 interceptions and a 72.4 RAT solidified his spot as a Draft Bust, though his selection started the Broncos down a road that would eventually win two Super Bowls, allowing Maddox not to be higher up on the list than he already is.
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