The most recent decade for the Denver Broncos has been both kind and unkind to the team. They have seen the highs of five division titles, two Super Bowl appearances, and one Super Bowl win. Contrarily, it’s the time span that the Broncos posted their first back to back losing seasons since the 71′-72′ season. In this two-part series, we will look at the Denver Broncos All-Decade Team and the players that truly defined and shaped this team for the past decade.
Denver Broncos All-Decade Team: The Offense
Quarterback – Peyton Manning
Hands down the easiest selection on this list was the first one. After being let go from the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning came to Denver and continued his greatness. In four seasons in Denver, he set the single-season record for passing yards, passing touchdowns, earned his fifth league MVP award, and two Super Bowl appearances. Although not the player he used to be, he was still integral to the Broncos winning Super Bowl 50 in his final season. During the 2013 season, Manning lit up the NFL for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns both of which are records that still stand to this day.
Running Back – CJ Anderson
One thing the Denver Broncos are good at is finding good running backs that fit their system. It is very easy to get caught up in the recent success of Phillip Lindsay and his back to back 1,000-yard seasons and Pro Bowl appearance. But, for this Denver Broncos All-Decade team, another undrafted running back made a larger impact in bigger moments and that player is CJ Anderson. Anderson rushed for 3,051 yards and 20 touchdowns in his five-year stint with the Broncos. His 49-yard game-winning touchdown run in the snow against the New England Patriots is a highlight of the decade in itself.
Wide Receiver – Demaryius Thomas
Without a doubt, Demaryius Thomas is a first-round selection for this Denver Broncos All-Decade team. During the 2012-16 seasons Thomas posted at least 90 catches for 1,000 yards making the Pro Bowl four times. His best season with the Broncos was 2014 when he dominated the NFL with 1,619 yards sharing the spotlight with Emmanuel Sanders. He took an absolute superstar jump after the 2011 season when Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos. He played 114 consecutive games and set the highest single-season receiving yard and touchdown totals in franchise history.
Wide Receiver – Emmanuel Sanders
This Denver Broncos offense needed a real shot in the arm after the 2013 Super Bowl loss and John Elway knew it. He then went on to sign future two time Pro Bowl free agent Emmanuel Sanders after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency. Sanders wasted no time once he got on the field in 2014 posting 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns which earned him his first Pro Bowl nomination. He had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons as part of the Thunder and Lightning combo with Demaryius Thomas.
Wide Receiver – Eric Decker
Possibly one of the more forgotten players in recent history by no fault of his own is Eric Decker. He was the perfect compliment to Demaryius Thomas for two years posting back to back 1,000-yard double-digit touchdown seasons. Decker was even able to shine during the Tim Tebow era in Denver when completions were few and far between. Week 10 of the 2011 season he caught one of the two passes Tebow completed that day and it was for a game-winning 56-yard touchdown. Not the flashiest receiver on the field but, a player that brought his best game each Sunday for his Denver Broncos.
Left Tackle – Ryan Clady
The former first-round pick was a bonafide star for the Denver Broncos for the first half of the decade. Starting his third year he had already earned his first Pro Bowl and 1st Team All-Pro nomination. He is a Ring of Famer for the Denver Broncos in the future without a doubt. During his 10 year career for the Broncos he ended up earning four Pro Bowls and two 1st Team All-Pro nominations. His career got cut short due to injury, and Denver traded him to the New York Jets were he retired in 2016.
Left Guard – Zane Beadles
The Denver Broncos selected Zane Beadles in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft similar to current Broncos guard Dalton Risner. He never missed a game for the Denver Broncos making 62 total starts. Beadles was selected for the Pro Bowl during his third season with the Broncos keeping defenders out of Peyton Manning’s face.
Center – Matt Paradis
A testament to John Elway having an eye for finding those diamonds in the rough, Matt Paradis was drafted in the sixth round in 2014. Playing 57 consecutive games which accounted for 3,850 plays, Paradis was the centerpiece for the offensive line during the Super Bowl. He ended up leaving in free agency after the 2018 season after suffering a season-ending injury. Since his departure, the Denver offensive line has struggled with consistency.
Right Guard – Louis Vasquez
Guard is not a position that the Denver Broncos have a lot of slam dunk options to choose from during this decade. Louis Vasquez was more of Right Tackle when playing in Denver but played right guard during 2015. A solid offensive lineman for the Broncos during his time with the team but nothing really spectacular. This just goes to show that the offensive line has been severely neglected during this decade.
Right Tackle – Orlando Franklin
Orlando Franklin has been the most consistent option for the Denver Broncos at the right tackle position in some years. He started 47 out of 48 games for the Broncos after being drafted in 2011. Franklin moved to left guard for the Broncos once the 2014 season started and he remained there during the Super Bowl run. Denver never had the most talented offensive line play in this decade but they definitely stepped up when needed.
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