Since this is defensive back week here on the Denver Broncos web site, with the site taking a hard look at the cornerbacks and safeties eligible for the 2011 National Football League draft, I thought I would look back on the best defensive backs ever drafted by the franchise.
In my opinion, with some miscellaneous personal memories thrown in, the six best players ever drafted by Denver as defensive backs are these:
Billy Thompson, drafted in the third round in 1969. A member of the Broncos’ Ring of Fame, BT started out at cornerback before setting into his safety position. To this day, he remains the only player ever to lead the league—he led the American Football League—in punt and kickoff returns in the same season (1969). “Bronco Billy” had 61 career turnovers and is the NFL’s all-time leader in opponent fumbles returned for touchdowns, with four.
He was my wife’s favorite player for years well beyond his retirement. A team captain, he always played and led like one. Billy was a vital member of the first Super Bowl team in 1977.