With the 101st pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos dipped into the FCS pool to select Lamar’s Brendan Langley, a cornerback who is also expected to contribute on special teams. If history is any indicator, Denver may have landed a steal in Langley.

In a draft deep with cornerbacks, including a pair of Colorado Buffaloes who were drafted at 60 (Chidobe Awuzie) and 66 (Ahkello Witherspoon), Langley was the 16th corner selected and the first from an FCS school.

It’s been awhile since Denver went into the FCS ranks to make a pick, but that selection proved to be one of the most productive players during the Broncos’ run of five consecutive AFC West titles from 2011 to 2015.

In the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Denver grabbed a former basketball player out of Portland State named Julius Thomas with the 129th overall pick. Over the next four years Thomas would amass 24 touchdowns and earn a pair of Pro Bowl nominations, helping power Denver to four division titles and a trip to the Super Bowl.

In 2013, when Denver set NFL records for most touchdowns and most points in a season, Thomas contributed 12 touchdowns and 788 yards. He scored another 12 touchdowns in 2014 (in only 13 games) before signing with Jacksonville in free agency.

Thomas’ success was due in large part thanks to a Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning (played with Thomas 2012-14) and dual receiving threats in Demaryius Thomas (2012-14)  and Emmanuel Sanders (2014), which sets up well for Langley who also joins All-Pro caliber players in the Denver secondary.

Langley joins the vaunted “No Fly Zone,” which boasts a pair of All-Pros in Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib, and a third cornerback who might have been a Pro Bowler in his own right, Bradley Roby, were he not the No. 3 option behind Harris and Talib.

It’s unlikely that Langley will see significant playing time in his rookie season behind that trio, but he will have an elite group from which to learn. Harris and Talib are both signed through 2019, giving Langley plenty of time to develop.

Thomas experienced a similar learning period, playing in just five games in a rookie season that was also cut short by injury. The 2012 season was also impacted by injury, as he played only four games and amassed no stats. Injuries have plagued Thomas throughout his career, but for two years he was one of the most productive tight ends in the league. Denver will have landed a steal if they can get a pair of Pro Bowl seasons from Langley.