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Horse Tracks: Broncos players approaching milestones

A couple of good games could see multiple Broncos make noise in the team record books.

NFL: New York Giants at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Players have great individual seasons all the time. What’s a bit rarer, though, especially now that the NFL is approaching its 100th season, is for players to join exclusive groups at the top of career metrics, or even break new ground in the record books entirely.

Broncos Country got to enjoy an awesome period of both individual season excellence and career achievement a few years ago. Among many other achievements, we watched as Peyton Manning racked up an unprecedented 55 touchdown passes in the 2013 season, shattering Tom Brady’s previous record of 50. And we got to see him eventually reach the peak of the career touchdown pass charts when he surpassed Brett Favre’s 508 career TDs on his way to a remarkable final tally of 539.

Manning’s achievements were always high profile, as is the nature of the beast for one of the best quarterbacks to ever take the field. But other Broncos are approaching greatness of their own, even if it’s not so widely known or anticipated. Some are running down Broncos team records, and a few are even chasing all time NFL records. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Aqib Talib

Talib’s incredible interception skills have been well documented over the last year or three, but they always deserve another mention. The Broncos’ star cornerback is continuing to play some of the best football of his career, and is as good as any CB in the league.

The pick six Talib laid on Dak Prescott during the Week 2 matchup vs the Cowboys, the 10th of his career, gave him sole possession of 4th on the all-time pick six leaderboard. An 11th will get him a tie for 2nd, and a 12th will get him a share of the all-time lead along with the great Rod Woodson.

Talib also has the chance to extend a current record with any additional pick-sixes, as he is the Broncos’ all-time leader in pick-sixes, with 6 as a Bronco. He’s made his mark on the team already, and will go down as one of the best cornerbacks in Broncos history.

Dallas Cowboys v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Von Miller

No list like this could be complete without Von Miller. The Broncos’ best loved geek/terrifying monster is on pace for a 16 sack season so far. Currently sitting at 78.5 career sacks, Von is currently 7th among all active players & 68th in NFL history for career sacks.

For perspective, out of those 6 active guys ahead of him, Julius Peppers and James Harrison entered the NFL way back in 2002, and Terrell Suggs entered the league in 2003. Two others, former Bronco Elvis Dumervil and longtime Chief Tamba Hali, have been in the league since 2006. Only Cameron Wake (2009) with 85 sacks hasn’t been in the NFL far longer than Von.

Miller’s also 23 sacks ahead of rival AFC West edge rusher Justin Houston (2011), who’s had both of his last two seasons derailed by injury and who hasn’t posted a double digit sack total since racking up 22 sacks back in 2014. The RaidersKhalil Mack (2014), having been in the league 3 fewer years, is well behind the other two with 34 career sacks. And of course, Joey Bosa’s not even in the conversation yet.

More notably, Miller is extremely close to taking one of the final steps up the Broncos’ career sacks board: at 78.5, he’s just half a sack behind Ring of Famer Karl Mecklenburg for 2nd on the Broncos’ career sacks leaderboard. After that, he’ll only have Simon Fletcher’s 97.5 sacks to top, which should happen near the middle of the 2018 season at the rate he’s going. If all goes well, by the time the 2018 regular season ends, Von Miller will be the first 100+ sack Bronco.

Oakland Raiders v Denver Bronco Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

C.J. Anderson

Anderson, in his 5th year as a Bronco, is currently just 200 yards shy of becoming a top 10 Bronco for career rushing yardage. Tatum Bell currently holds that spot with 2,591 Broncos rushing yards. An additional 63 yards would then see Anderson bump up to 9th. And if Anderson adds 709 more rushing yards to his current total of 2,391, he’ll take over Clinton Portis’s claim to 8th. Though Portis got there in just 29 games, compared to the 50 to 60 games it’ll take Anderson.

Anyone think Anderson will hang around long enough to take over the 7th spot on the list? Judging by the management history of the current owner of that spot, John Elway, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Dallas Cowboys v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Demaryius Thomas

One of the few highlights to come out of the loss to the Giants was DT breaking the 8,000 receiving yard mark. What’s less widely recognized is that he’s just 356 yards shy of surpassing Shannon Sharpe as the 2nd most prolific receiver in Broncos history. If all goes well, that will hopefully happen against the Eagles, Patriots, or Bengals. Fittingly, he’s also currently 3rd in receiving touchdowns in Broncos’ history at 52, needing just 3 more to match Sharpe or 4 to pass him.

But don’t hold your breath until DT takes over the top spot. He’ll still have almost 3,000 yards to go to catch the great Rod Smith.

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Brandon McManus

In a season marred by a case of the yips, McManus has still quietly breached the ranks of the top 10 all time Broncos scorers. Starting the season 13th at 312 points scored, he’s racked up another 36 to reach his current spot at 9th. He should work his way up as far as 5th sometime next season.

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