How the search for impact draft picks has gone in John Elway's tenure

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When John Elway describes the Denver Broncos' goals in each draft, he will use words like "impact," "starters" or simply "those guys who can be Denver Broncos for a long time."

Later this month the team will go through their sixth draft since owner Pat Bowlen hired Elway in January 2011 to be the Broncos' top football decision-maker.

Using impact as the guide, here's a look at Elway's previous five drafts:


Starters: Six among the draft picks, as Von Miller, Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Julius Thomas and Virgil Green have all been regulars. Safety Quinton Carter, before a knee injury dereailed his career, started 10 games in his rookie season.

Pro Bowl players: Miller and Thomas.

Bottom line: Miller, with four Pro Bowl selections to go with a Super Bowl MVP award, leads the way for a class that was a big part of the Broncos' Super Bowl team in 2013. Moore, Franklin, Thomas and Irving all left in free agency, so after cuts along the way, just Miller and Green remain.


Starters: Four among the draft picks, as Derek Wolfe, Ronnie Hillman, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan have all been regulars, to go with cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who made the team as an undrafted rookie. Brock Osweiler also started seven games as Peyton Manning recovered from a left foot injury.

Pro Bowl players: Harris has been named to two Pro Bowls.

Bottom line: Jackson and Trevathan have left in free agency, Hillman remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent, while Wolfe has signed an extension. Harris was the last undrafted rookie the Broncos signed that year and has been the most accomplished player in the group as he has turned into one of the league's elite at his position, a get-it-done player who excels on the field and does the right things off of it.


Starters: Two among the draft picks, as Sylvester Williams and Montee Ball have been starters to go with running back C.J. Anderson, who made the roster as an undrafted rookie in '13. Kayvon Webster has been a key player on special teams and has played in some spot duty on defense.

Pro Bowl players: Anderson was named as an injury replacement in the Pro Bowl following the 2014 season.

Bottom line: Wide receiver Tarvarres King never made it out of his first season with the team and Quanterus Smith never quite rebounded from a college knee injury as Williams and Webster are the only players from the seven-player class who remain with the Broncos.


Starters: Three among the draft picks, Matt Paradis has the look of a long-time starter at center, Michael Schofield was the starter at right tackle for most of the 2015 season while Bradley Roby has been a regular on defense, having played at both cornerback and safety at times in the base defense.

Pro Bowl players: None.

Bottom line: The six-player class was the Broncos' smallest to this point in Elway's tenure and came to a team that had just gone to the Super Bowl. It's overall value would be aided if Cody Latimer, a second-rounder in '14, can find a way to get into the rotation in the offense. He has become a key role player on special teams, but the Broncos continue to hope he can take the next jump get regular snaps on offense.


Starters: Two among the draft picks as Ty Sambrailo was the starter at left tackle when he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 3 of the regular season and Max Garcia started five games.

Pro Bowl players: None.

Bottom line: This group joined a team that had won four consecutive division titles and went on to win a fifth in a row on the way to a Super Bowl win. There wasn't much room for them, but Sambrailo is in line to start at guard this season as is Garcia while tight end Jeff Heuerman, who missed his rookie season after tearing his ACL just days after the draft, figures to start as well. Shane Ray, who was the Broncos' first-round pick in the '15 draft, was a regular in the defensive rotation as a rookie and figures to start at outside linebacker in early-down situations in the coming season as DeMarcus Ware is expected to play only on passing downs for the most part.