Broncos All-Time Roster: Who is the best safety?

Jul 23, 2021, 3:52 PM | Updated: Jul 25, 2021, 3:59 pm
11 Jan 1998: Defensive back Steve Atwater of the Denver Broncos stands on the field during a playof...
11 Jan 1998: Defensive back Steve Atwater of the Denver Broncos stands on the field during a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Denver won the game 24-21.

The Denver Broncos have seen a plethora of talented players since the merger of the American and National Football Leagues in 1970.

While it may be easy for Broncos Country to explain why a particular quarterback or running back is the best of his generation, this list is here to tackle which Broncos players are the best of all time.

Every Fan host was tasked with ranking top Broncos players’ skillsets to come up with the greatest Broncos roster.

This all-time roster will have a few no-brainers on it, but ultimately the Fan hosts decided who was the best of the best.

Here is the Broncos’ all-time roster at safety.

Top Three:
1. Steve Atwater
2. Dennis Smith
3. John Lynch

Honorable Mentions:
4. TJ Ward
5. Billy Thompson
6. Justin Simmons


Steve Atwater

The Denver Broncos selected Steve Atwater out of Arkansas in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft. Atwater played in 167 games during his 11-season career.

He made an immediate impact at free safety in his rookie season. Atwater recorded 129 total tackles (2nd most on the team) to help turn around a Denver defense that ranked 20th in points allowed the previous year to become the NFL’s stingiest unit in 1989 that allowed the fewest points in the league.

Atwater recorded 24 interceptions which he returned for 408 yards and a touchdown, added five sacks, and registered more than 1,000 tackles. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

Dennis Smith

Dennis Smith was selected 15th overall in 1981.

In 184 regular-season games, Smith started 170 games and recorded 1,171 total tackles, 30 interceptions (431 return yards), 15 sacks and 17 fumble recoveries.

When the Broncos added Steve Atwater, Smith “would really hit his groove.” In that season, he made three consecutive Pro Bowls and added another in 1993 to bring his career total to six.

John Lynch

John Lynch signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2004 where he played the final four seasons of his 15-year career.

He helped lead the Broncos to a conference championship game appearance in his second season in Denver. That year he recorded a career-high four sacks, intercepted two passes, forced four fumbles, and racked up 69 tackles.

In all, Lynch played in 224 regular season games, recorded 26 interceptions returned for 204 yards, added 13 sacks, and registered more than 1,000 tackles.


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Broncos All-Time Roster: Who is the best safety?