If you created a greatest Denver Broncos of all time list, you would most likely have at least eight of these nine names on your list.
Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, Jason Elam, John Lynch, Karl Mecklenburg, Tom Nalen, Mark Schlereth, Rod Smith and coach Dan Reeves are among the 113 nominees (99 players and 14 coaches). Who among us has not mentioned a few of these names as absolutely deserving of the bronze head treatment?
To top those nine off, Broncos legend Randy Gradishar has been moved to the senior pool of candidates and should see an easier road to the Hall of Fame from there (just not this year as there is only one nominee). Let's hope that one of those Denver journalists with voting credentials can make Gradishar's case heard like they did with Floyd Little a few years ago.
Last year both Terrell Davis and Karl Mecklenburg made it to the top 25, while John Lynch made it to the top 15. However, as most passion Broncos fans can tell you, Rod Smith's career numbers destroy several Hall of Fame receivers career statistics (see: Lynn Swann or Steve Largent). Smith did it as part of a tandem or tridem if you want to include Shannon Sharpe and you should.
This is the second year that Tom Nalen has been on the ballot and although he is not likely to get in this year, he is as deserving as any on this list to be enshrined. There is also a very strong case to be made for Steve Atwater, especially with Lynch making the top 15 last year.
Jason Elam is the only player on the list who is on the ballot for the first time.
The 113 nominees will be cut to 25 in November and 15 by January, with five nominees, a senior nominee (Mick Tingelhoff) and two contributor candidates being named to the Hall of Fame on the eve of the Super Bowl.