Draft Record of Bronco GMs – A Decade of Decline: Part 2

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26Portis

The next stage in our look at the Draft record of Denver Bronco General Managers, takes us to the man with the second longest tenure in this position – Ted Sundquist, who held the GM spot from 2002-07.

Ted’s journey began in Houston Texas, where he was born. After high school, he attended the Air Force Academy where he played football. Ted was a part of the AFA coaching staff in 1989 and was the head coach of the USAFA Prep School from 1990-92. He also earned his Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado in 1992.

From there, Ted joined the Broncos as a scout and Player Personnel Assistant for two years.

At 33, Sundquist served as the Broncos College Scouting Director and was in that role during the Denver’s back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998. He not only supervised the  scouting department, but was responsible for the team’s salary cap and contract analysis. Ted was elevated to General Manager by owner Pat Bowlen in 2002, when both the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons organizations expressed interest in him. The Broncos owner was fond of Sundquist and wanted to keep him “in house.”

For the next six years Ted held the title of GM for the Denver Broncos and the team compiled a 66-46-0 record.

During that time, 54 players were selected in the NFL Draft by the Broncos. 2 of those players achieved All-Pro status (Clady, Dumervil) and five of them made at to at least 1 Pro Bowl (Marshall 3, Dumervil 2, Portis 2, Clady and Cutler 1).  24 were the primary starter for at least 1 year (44.4%) and 7 players were primary starters for 5 seasons or more (13%). 34 draftees started at least one game. 21 players started at least 20 games (38.8%) and 10 started at least 50 games (18.5%). Only 2 Broncos draft picks from 2002-07) started 100 games or more (DJ Williams, Portis).

13 of those draft picks played less than five games for Denver (Bradlee Van Pelt) and 7 were total busts, like Maurice Clarett, although everyone in Broncos country knows that Mo was drafted solely at Mike Shanahan’s discretion.

Here are some of the notable position players on Offense during that time:

Running Backs

Clinton Portis – 9,923 yards, 75 TDs rushing. 247 catches for 2,018 yards and 5 TDs receiving.

Tatum Bell – 2,773 yards, 16 TDs rushing. 71 catches for 419 yards receiving.

Peyton Hillis – 2,470 yards, 21 TDs rushing. 111 catches for 867 yards, 3 TDs receiving.

Jay Cutler – 1,116 yards and 6 TDs rushing.

Ryan Torain – 1,011 yards, 6 TDs rushing. 24 catches for 148 yards, 2 TDs receiving.

Quentin Griffin – 656 yards, 2 TDs rushing. 18 catches for 129 yards, 1 TD receiving.

Receivers

Brandon Marshall (WR) – 612 rec, 7,755 yards, 45 TDs

Ashley Lelie (WR) – 217 rec, 3,749 yards, 15 TDs

Tony Scheffler (TE) – 251 rec, 3,125 yards, 22 TDs

Eddie Royal (WR) – 229 rec, 2,341 yards, 10 TDs

Clinton Portis (RB) – 247 rec, 2,018 yards,  5 TDs

Domenik Hixon (WR) – 102 rec, 1,405 yards,  6 TDs

Jeb Putzier (TE) – 96 rec, 1,251 yards,  3 TDs

Between 2002-07, Sundquist and the Broncos drafted such players as RB Clinton Portis, DE Elvis Dumervil, T Ryan Clady, WR Ashley Lelie, LB D. J. Williams, QB Jay Cutler, RB Tatum Bell, WR Brandon Marshall and G Chris Kuper.

Ted also orchestrated the deal that sent Clinton Portis to the Redskins in exchange for CB Champ Bailey, another to obtain Dre Bly from the Detroit Lions and a No. 2 draft pick that turned out to be Tatum Bell. He brought in Free Agents such as S John Lynch, WR Javon Walker, WR Brandon Stokley, QB Jake Plummer and Daniel Graham among others.

Ted and the Broncos nailed the draft in 2006, selecting arguably the best crop of prospects in franchise history.

They picked up WR Brandon Marshall, TE Tony Scheffler, QB Jay Cutler, DE Elvis Dumervil, OG Chris Kuper, WR Domenik Hixon and Greg Eslinger.

All but Eslinger, a Center out of Akron taken with the 198th pick, are still in the league.

3 out of the six years Ted was the Broncos GM, they made the playoffs (2003-05). Denver had a winning record 5 of those 6 years as well, winning the AFC West division once and runner up the other 5 years.

Yet Shanahan’s failures as a coach back in 2007 would not be reflected upon Shanahan within the Broncos organization and Ted would end up as the fall guy. Sundquist was let go at the end of the 2007 football season in favor of Jim Goodman.

It is difficult to say why Ted Sundquist isn’t employed as an NFL GM. He has the knowledge, discipline and talent suited for the position and a track record of talent evaluation. I do know that he still resides in Colorado, is involved with a high tech talent evaluation system called Eye Scout and shares his wealth of knowledge on his blog,  theFootballEducator.com.

Go Broncos!

– Kaptain Kirk

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