Denver Broncos unveil jersey numbers for 2022 rookie class

OU's Nik Bonitto (11) celebrates after a sack during the Big 12 Championship Game against Iowa State last Dec. 19 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
OU's Nik Bonitto (11) celebrates after a sack during the Big 12 Championship Game against Iowa State last Dec. 19 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. bonitto

After much anticipation, the Denver Broncos have finally unveiled which numbers their selections in the 2022 NFL draft will be wearing this season.

Denver’s first pick, Nik Bonitto, will be wearing No. 42 instead of his collegiate No. 11, which is presently donned by backup quarterback Josh Johnson.

The Broncos don’t have much of a legacy with the No. 42, as it was most notably worn by Billy Van Heusen in the 1970s. Recently, Parnell Motley wore No. 42 in 2020, and Casey Kreiter wore it as the team’s long snapper for a few seasons before that, but neither made an especially memorable impact on the team.

Greg Dulcich will be wearing the No. 80, as his collegiate No. 85 is the property of Albert Okwuegbunam.

The No. 80 has much more pedigree in Broncos history than No. 42, as it was worn by legendary pass-catchers Rod Smith, Mark Jackson, Rick Upchurch, and even Julius Thomas. Most recently, the number was worn by Jake Butt.

Denver’s final top-115 pick, Damarri Mathis, is also picking a number that carries some historical weight, as he’ll wear No. 27.

No. 27 was, of course, famously worn by superstar defender Steve Atwater during the team’s 1990s Super Bowl wins, but it was also worn by burgeoning star Darrent Williams before he was tragically killed in 2007.

Nate Hairston, Davontae Harris, and Brendan Langley all wore the number at cornerback in recent seasons.

Rounding out the rookie class’s jersey selections was Eyioma Uwazurike picking No. 96 (formerly Shelby Harris’ number), Delarrin Turner-Yell selecting No. 32, Montrell Washington choosing No. 12, Luke Wattenberg landing on No. 60, Matt Henningsen acquiring No. 91 and Faion Hicks settling on No. 29.

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