Denver Broncos’ All-Time Receiving Yardage Leaders
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When you think of the Denver Broncos, chances are you think of John Elway, who quarterbacked the team for almost two decades. You also might think of the “Orange Crush” defense back in the day. But the Broncos, who play in the thin mountain air, have always fielded great receivers too. Here is a list of the all-time top 10 in receiving yardage for the Broncos’ franchise, which began play in the AFL in 1960:
Rod Smith (11,389)—Rod Smith was the epitome of steady, playing for the Broncos, his only team, from 1995 to 2006. Smith helped the team win two Super Bowls but became better with age, making the Pro Bowl three times after his 30th birthday. Smith ranks first in Broncos’ history with 11,389 receiving yards, and his best season was 2000, when he caught 100 passes for a career high 1602 yards 8 touchdowns, while adding six rushes for 99 yards and a TD as well.
Shannon Sharpe (8439)—Tight end Shannon Sharpe played most of his career in Denver, from 1990 to 1999 and then again in 2002 and 2003. Sharpe ranks second in Broncos’ franchise history with 8439 receiving yards, and he made the Pro Bowl seven straight times from 1992 to 1998, including first team All Pro four times. Sharpe racked up a career best 1107 receiving yards in 1997, but his best overall season was 1996, when he caught 80 passes for 1062 yards and a career high 10 touchdowns.
Lionel Taylor (6872)—Lionel Taylor was an original Bronco, playing in Denver from 1960 to 1966, and still ranks third in team history with 6872 receiving yards. Taylor made the Pro Bowl four times, including three as a first team All Pro in a Broncos uniform. His best season with the team was 1960, when Taylor caught 92 passes for a career best 1235 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns (also career high).
Ed McCaffrey (6200)—Ed McCaffrey began his career with the New York Giants and then played one year in San Francisco before coming to Denver and helping them win two Super Bowls. McCaffrey played for the Broncos from 1995 to 2003, and ranks fourth in their history with 6200 receiving yards. McCaffrey made the Pro Bowl in 1998, but his best season was 2000, when he caught 101 passes for 1317 yards (both career highs) with 9 touchdowns.
Steve Watson (6112)—Steve Watson played his entire career in Denver, from 1979 to 1987, and ranks fifth in Broncos’ history with 6112 receiving yards. Watson made the Pro Bowl in 1981, which was his best season. That year, Watson caught 60 passes for career highs in receiving yards (1244) and touchdown catches (13).
Riley Odoms (5755)—Tight end Riley Odoms played his entire career in Denver, from 1972 to 1983, and ranks sixth in team history witih 5755 receiving yards. Odoms made the Pro Bowl four times, including twice as a first team All Pro. His best season was 1978, with career highs in catches (54) and receiving yards (829) with 6 touchdowns.
Vance Johnson (5695)—Vance Johnson played his whole career in Denver, from 1985 to 1995 and ranks seventh in franchise history with 5695 receiving yards. In 1989, Johnson had career highs in catches (76), receiving yards (1095) and touchdown catches (7).
Haven Moses (5450)—Haven Moses played most of his career in Denver, from 1972 to 1981, and ranks eighth in Broncos’ history with 5450 receiving yards. Moses’ best season in Denver was 1979, when he had career highs in receptions (54) and receiving yards (943) with 6 TD catches.
Mark Jackson (4746)—Mark Jackson was one of the “smurfs,” three undersize receivers that were adept at catching passes for the Broncos in the ‘80’s. Jackson played in Denver from 1986 to 1992 and ranks ninth in team history with 4746 receiving yards. Jackson’s best season was 1990 when he had career highs in receptions (57) and receiving yards (926) with 4 touchdowns. He also carried the ball five times for 28 yards and one more TD that season.
Rick Upchurch (4369)—Rick Upchurch played his entire career in Denver, from 1975 to 1983, and was mostly a kick returner and an outstanding one at that. Upchurch made the Pro Bowl four times as a return man, three as first team All Pro. But 1979 was his best year as a receiver, when he started all 16 games and racked up career highs in receptions (64), receiving yards (937) and receiving touchdowns (7). That same year, Upchurch returned 30 punts for 304 yards as well.