The 5 Broncos Draft Picks Taken At No. 31

By Steve Cox

DENVER (CBS4) – If the Broncos hold onto their first round draft pick, the Super Bowl champions will make the 31st and final selection in Thursday night’s opening round. If that happens it will be the sixth time in franchise history that the Broncos have taken the 31st player off the board.

Here’s a look back on the previous five selections made by the Broncos at No. 31.

2014 Draft:
1st Round/31stt overall pick:
CB — Bradley Roby — Ohio State

Bradley Roby #29 of the Denver Broncos stands on the field prior to Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Bradley Roby #29 of the Denver Broncos stands on the field prior to Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Roby has appeared in every Broncos game (including six starts) since joining the team in 2014. He was drafted as a cornerback coming out of college and now splits time in that position as well as safety. Roby has accounted for 105 tackles (solo and combined), 1 sack, and 3 interceptions.

1999 Draft:
1st Round/31st overall pick:
LB — Al Wilson — Tennessee

In 1999 the Broncos drafted Al Wilson out of Tennessee in the first round. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

In 1999 the Broncos drafted Al Wilson out of Tennessee in the first round. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Wilson would be the Broncos first draft pick after the team’s back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the late 1990s. In his eight seasons, Wilson missed only three games, and started in all but six of the games he appeared in as a Bronco. A neck injury would ultimately cut short Wilson’s career that included five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro selections.

1985 Draft:
2nd Round/31st overall pick:
WR — Vance Johnson — Arizona

Jan 1988: Receivers Ricky Nattiel (left), Vance Johnson (center) and Mark Jackson of the Denver Broncos, The Three Amigos, pose for the camera during Media Day for Super Bowl XXII at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. (credit: Allsport/Getty Images)

Jan 1988: Receivers Ricky Nattiel (left), Vance Johnson (center) and Mark Jackson of the Denver Broncos, The Three Amigos, pose for the camera during Media Day for Super Bowl XXII at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. (credit: Allsport/Getty Images)

Johnson would spend his entire 10-year career as a member of the Denver Broncos. In the late 80s Johnson, along with receivers Mark Jackson and Ricky Nattiel, would become known as the Three Amigos. Johnson played in three Super Bowls for the Broncos, scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl XXI loss to the New York Giants.

1983 Draft:
2nd Round/31st overall pick:
T — Mark Cooper — Miami (Fla.)

Defensive tackle Jim Burt of the New York Giants talks with Denver Broncos tackle Mark Cooper after the conclusion Super Bowl XXI at the Rose Bowl on January 25, 1987 in Pasadena, California. The Giants won 39-20. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Defensive tackle Jim Burt of the New York Giants talks with Denver Broncos tackle Mark Cooper after the conclusion Super Bowl XXI at the Rose Bowl on January 25, 1987 in Pasadena, California. The Giants won 39-20. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Cooper played for five seasons for the Broncos, but despite his high draft pick, he only started in 12 games. However one of those starts was Super Bowl XXI. Cooper was the second offensive lineman the Broncos drafted in 1983. In the first round, the team selected guard Chris Hinton from Northwestern. Hinton of course never played for the Broncos. He was traded to the Colts for a guy named John Elway.

1968 Draft:
2nd Round/31st overall pick:
DT — Curley Culp — Arizona State

Broncos fans may be surprised to learn Culp was drafted by the Broncos because the Hall of Famer never played for the Broncos. Unable to fit into Denver’s defense, Culp moved to the Kansas City Chiefs without ever playing a down for the Broncos. As a nose tackle for the Chiefs (and later the Oilers), Culp’s play helped popularize the 3-4 defense. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2013.

Steve Cox is CBS4’s Executive Producer for Sports. He has been with CBS4 since 1993. Follow Steve on Twitter @stevecoxdenver.

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