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Little Known Broncos Facts: The Last Man Drafted

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There has been much made about the fact that the Denver Broncos failed to sign a first round draft pick until 1967 when they landed RB Floyd Little. Little was just the first of many first round picks that we have come to know and love. RB Bobby Anderson, TE Riley Odoms, LB Randy Gradishar, CB Louis Wright, G Tom Glassic, S Steve Atwater -- these are just a few of the names that come readily to mind when we think about the players Denver has picked in the first round. Yes, I did leave out John Elway since he was not drafted by the Broncos.

But what about the last man drafted? Is that the sound of crickets? Not too many names leap to mind. What about these players -- Denver's version of Mr. Irrelevant. How did those final picks fare and did any of them go on to be impact players as a Bronco?

Take a jump and find out.

Let's take a look at those players were the last player picked by Denver in each of the Broncos' drafts. While it is true, that the last picked player is often irrelevant to the team, and while it is also true that 28 out of Denver's 52 last picks have never played in the NFL, there are a few names on the list that you might just find surprising.

The 1960s
There were nine players drafted after Denver's inaugural season. Six never played in the AFL, nor in the NFL. Three ended up playing for a combined 22 seasons for other NFL teams (two of them had accepted draft bids from NFL teams during the time that the AFL was competing with the NFL for talent).
Year Round Pick Player Position College Career
1961 30 233 Dave Mills HB NE Missouri St Never played
1962 34 266 Steve Stonebreaker LB Detroit Mercy Played 1962-68 for Minnesota, Baltimore Colts and New Orleans
1963 29 229 Kern Carson HB San Diego St Played 1962-65 for New York Jets and San Diego
1964 26 201 Bob Berry QB Oregon Played 1965-75 for Minnesota and Atlanta
1965 20 153 Terry Metchner G Albion Never played
1966 20 175 Cliff Hysell T Montana St Never played
1967 17 425 Wayne Valley T Oregon St Never played
1968 17 438 Steve Grady RB USC Never played
1969 17 425 Buster O'Brien QB Richmond Never played

The 1970s
There were ten players drafted as the last pick of the Broncos in the 1970s. Eight of these players never played in the NFL. One player played a combined nine seasons for three different NFL teams. One player played three seasons for the Broncos (see below for his statistics).

Year Round Pick Player Position College Career
1970 17 427 Frank Kalfoss K Montana St Never played
1971 17 425 Jack Simcsak K Virginia Tech Never played
1972 17 420 Lou Harris RB USC Never played
1973 17 425 Kenneth Morgan TE Elon Never played
1974 17 432 Boyd Brown TE Alcorn St Played 1974-76 for Denver. Appeared in 40 games with 0 starts. Returned 6 kicks for 97 yards. Caught 1 pass for 14 yards.
1975 17 433 Lester Sherman RB College not specified Never played
1976 17 474 Randy Cozens DE Pittsburgh Never played
1977 12 324 Scott Levenhagen TE Western Illinois Never played
1978 11 305 Lacy Brumley T Clemson Never played
1979 12 325 Dave Jacobs K Syracuse Played 3 seasons between 1979 and 1987, 1 season each for New York Jets, Cleveland and Philadelphia

The 1980s
Out of the ten last picked players in the 1980s, eight never played in the NFL. The other two played a combined 24 seasons for the Broncos (see below for their statistics).

Year Round Pick Player Position College Career
1980 11 297 Phil Farris WR North Carolina Never played
1981 12 321 Mandel Robinson RB Wyoming Never played
1982 12 327 Brian Clark G Clemson Never played
1983 12 310 Karl Mecklenburg LB Minnesota Played 1983-94 for Denver. Appeared in 180 games with 141 starts. Recorded 79 sacks, 5 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, 14 fumble recoveries, 2 fumbles returned for touchdowns, 1104 tackles, 14 assists, 1 safety. Was a Hall of Fame semi-finalist in 2012.
1984 12 326 Murray Jarman WR Clemson Never played
1985 12 334 Dan Lynch G Washington St Never played
1986 11 301 Thomas Dendy RB South Carolina Never played
1987 12 334 Tyrone Braxton DB North Dakota St Played 1987-93 for Denver then again from 1995-99. Appeared in 165 games with 132 starts. Recorded 3.5 sacks, 34 interceptions, 4 interceptions returned for touchdowns, 8 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries, 746 tackles, 74 assists.
1988 12 332 Johnny Carter DT Grambling St Never played
1989 12 320 John Javis WR Howard Never played

The 1990s
Only one out of this collection of ten last picks never played in the NFL. Three went on to play a combined eleven seasons for other NFL franchises while six logged a combined 25 seasons for the Broncos (though to be accurate, 20 of those 25 seasons were logged by just two players).

Year Round Pick Player Position College Career
1990 10 275 Anthony Thompson LB East Carolina Played 1990 for Denver. Appeared in 10 games with 0 starts and no recorded statistics.
1991 11 284 Shawn Moore QB Virginia Played 1992 for Denver. Appeared in 3 games with 0 starts. Completed 17 of 34 passes for 232 yards with 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Was sacked 6 times and recorded 39 yards rushing on 8 scrambles. He fumbled 3 times.
1992 12 334 John Granby WR Virginia Tech Played 1992 for Denver. Appeared in 4 games with 0 starts and had no recorded statistics.
1993 8 210 Brian Stablein WR Ohio St Played 1995-00 for Indianapolis and Detroit
1994 7 281 Tom Nalen C Boston College Played 1994-07 for Denver. Appeared in 194 games with 188 starts. Caught 1 pass for -1 yard in 1997.
1995 7 222 Byron Chamberlain TE Wayne St Played 1995-00 for Denver. Appeared in 73 games with 0 starts. Caught 72 passes for 964 yards with 3 touchdowns. Only fumbled twice.
1996 7 236 Brian Gragert P Wyoming Never played
1997 4 124 Cory Gilliard DB Ball St Played 1997 for Cincinnati
1998 7 219 Nate Wayne LB Mississippi Played 1998-99 for Denver. Appeared in 16 games with 0 starts. Recorded 2 sacks, 8 tackles, 2 assists, 1 forced fumble.
1999 7 238 Justin Swift TE Kansas St Played 1999-02 for Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The 2000s
Four of the ten players picked last by Denver between 2000 and 2009 never played in the NFL. The other six played a combined 17 seasons for the Broncos.

Year Round Pick Player Position College Career
2000 7 246 Leroy Fields WR Jackson St Never played
2001 6 190 Kevin Kasper WR Iowa Played 2001-02 for Denver. Appeared in 14 games with 5 starts. Returned 29 kicks for 765 yards.
2002 7 231 Monsanto Pope DT Virginia Played 2002-05 for Denver. Appeared in 48 games with 21 starts. Recorded 6 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 49 tackles and 13 assists.
2003 7 235 Ahmaad Galloway RB Alabama Never played
2004 7 250 Bradlee Van Pelt QB Colorado St Played 2005 for Denver. Appeared in 3 games with 0 starts. Completed 2 of 8 passes for 76 yards. Scored 1 rushing touchdown.
2005 7 239 Paul Ernster K Northern Arizona Played 2005-07 for Denver. Appeared in 18 games with 0 starts. Recorded 85 punts for 3516 yards and a 41.4 average.
2006 6 198 Greg Eslinger C Minnesota Never played
2007 4 121 Marcus Thomas DT Florida Played 2007-11 for Denver. Appeared in 76 games with 34 starts. Recorded 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 106 tackles and 44 assists.
2008 7 227 Peyton Hillis FB Arkansas Played 2008-09 for Denver. Appeared in 26 games with 8 starts. Rushed 81 times for 397 yards, a 4.9 average, with 6 touchdowns. Caught 18 passes for 198 yards with 1 touchdown.
2009 7 225 Blake Schlueter C TCU Never played

The 2010s
There have been three players drafted thus far in the 2010s. One has never played in the NFL. One has been on Denver's roster but made no appearances thus far. One was just drafted.

Year Round Pick Player Position College Career
2010 7 232 Jammie Kirlew DE Indiana Never played
2011 7 247 Jeremy Beal DL Oklahoma On roster in 2011 but no appearances
2012 6 188 Danny Trevathan OLB Kentucky has yet to be decided

These were the last players picked by the Broncos since their inception in 1960. Many have disappeared into the mists of the non-NFL world. A few have risen up to make an impact as a Bronco. All of them deserve to be remembered.