The Denver Broncos currently hold the 20th selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. It is a spot in which they have struck gold before. In 1989, the team took a safety out of Arkansas. His name was Steve Atwater.

“A pretty good safety, I would say, wouldn’t you?” Dan Reeves asked Gil Whiteley and Arran Andersen about Atwater on Mile High Sports Radio.

Reeves was the coach of the Broncos at the time. The Broncos originally had the 13th pick, but traded back. Hoping he’d be available later, they had their sights set on Atwater to fix their lackluster run defense.

“Well, he was definitely a physical prospect, no question about it,” Reeves said. “I think the most important thing was, Steve had that great mental ability to direct traffic in that secondary. So when you put him next to that great safety we already had there [Dennis Smith], it made for a great combination.”

Atwater would go on to play for the Broncos for a decade. He would win two Super Bowls, be named to eight Pro Bowls and would be a first-team All-Pro twice. It wasn’t just his athletic prowess that impressed Reeves back in 1989 however, it was who he was as a man.

“One of the things that was the deciding factor for us in taking him over some of the other safeties that were available at that time was that we were impressed when we brought him in, talked to him and sat him down, [with] what kind of person he was.”

Listen to the full interview with Dan Reeves, including if he ever drafted for need and how much work goes into preparing for the draft, in the podcast below.

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