The top five inside linebackers in Denver Broncos history

1. Karl Mecklenburg

Career in Denver: 1983-1994 (12 seasons)

Career Accolades: 6-time Pro Bowler; 3-time First-Team All-Pro

Mecklenburg embodied the pure athleticism and versatility most valued at the linebacker position throughout his 12 years with Denver. He could play at any of the three linebacker positions as well as at any point on the defensive line.

As a 12th-round pick, if he had played in the modern era, Mecklenburg would have gone undrafted. As it is, he still defied the expectations of those who let him fall to No. 310 overall.

A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Mecklenberg was beloved by teammates, and is one of just five players since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 with at least 1,000 tackles and 70 or more sacks. He has been a finalist for the Hall of Fame the last five years running, but has yet to see his bust erected in Canton.

His fondest memory playing in the orange and blue was the 1986 AFC Championship game in Cleveland.

“They didn’t even let us sleep that night. We were in a downtown hotel that was kind of a tower with an alley around it. They drove around our hotel, honking their horns and barking all night. It was unbelievable,” Mecklenburg said.  “We would get off the bus and head into the locker room and just get pelted with dog bones. It was an experience like none I’ve ever had before. And to go in there, in that hostile of an environment, and win, was just an unbelievable feeling.”

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