2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

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

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

CHAMP IN END ZONETHE CHAMP

 

TOMBSTONE JACKSONRICH “TOMBSTONE” JACKSON

 

 

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.