2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Is Champ Bailey the Broncos all-time greatest defensive player?

Published: March 7, 2014, 8:33 am, by David Ramsey






I’m not going to attempt to answer the question. At least not right now.

In my view, Bailey ranks right at the top alongside Randy Gradishar (1974-83), Louis Wright (1975-86) and Rich Jackson (1967-71).

Gradishar was a linebacker straight out of an instructional video. His reputation was hurt by his steadiness. He was not a highlight-reel headhunter. He was consistent. He was clutch. He would be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he had played three or four more seasons.

Wright is one of the overlooked greats in Broncos history. He was a shutdown cornerback before the term was invented. He, too, would be a member of the Hall of Fame if the Broncos had managed to win a Super Bowl during his career.

Jackson, known as “Tombstone,” dominated as a defensive end during a strange time in Broncos history. Running back Floyd Little and Jackson were two of the NFL’s top players, but the Broncos were still awful. For a brief time,  Jackson roared as one of the NFL’s all-time most frightening pass rushers. A severe knee injury cut short “Tombstone’s” career.

Where does Champ belong on this list?

At the top? Or somewhere lower?

Let me know what you think.