Sports

Denver Broncos' Ten Worst First-Round Draft Picks

Today marks the beginning of the 2016 NFL Draft.

And even though your Denver Broncos are the 31st team scheduled to pick — that's what happens to squads that win the Super Bowl — there's a lot of pressure on the Broncos to make that first selection count.

They haven't always managed to do so.

While Denver has struck pay dirt with first-rounders such as Von Miller and Bradley Roby, execs have also drafted plenty of first-round disappointments or flat-out busts over the years, as witnessed by the following top-ten list, which we first shared last year.

We hope John Elway and company do better than this in 2016....
Number 10: Tommy Maddox
Quarterback: UCLA
Number 25 overall pick in 1992


Maddox had some good years as QB in Pittsburgh, long after his Broncos days. But in Denver, he was mainly drafted because then-coach Dan Reeves was disenchanted with John Elway and seldom rose from the pine.

Number 9: Ashley Lelie
Wide receiver: Hawaii
Number 19 overall pick in 2002


Lelie never became the big-time receiver the Broncos envisioned, and he was a grumbler, leading to his 2006 trade. Two years later, he was out of the league.

Number 8: Tim Tebow
Quarterback: Florida
Number 25 overall pick in 2010


We're of two minds on Timmy. Yes, he got the Broncos to the playoffs (and won a game!) in his best season with the squad. But he was a terrible passer and a weirdly divisive presence who was disappeared from the roster at the earliest opportunity. Peyton Manning, four winning seasons and a Super Bowl championship followed.

Number 7: Don Latimer
Nose tackle: Miami (Florida)
Number 27 overall pick in 1978


The Broncos hoped Latimer would become a mainstay of the vaunted Orange Crush defense, but he proved an underwhelming talent. By 1983, he was in the USFL.

Number 6: Willie Middlebrooks
Cornerback: Minnesota
Number 24 overall pick in 2001


He was drafted with the idea that he'd become a star, but Middlebrooks was more of a journeyman. He lasted just three seasons in Denver.

Continue to keep counting down the Broncos' ten worst first-round draft picks.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts