Friday, the Associated Press announced their first and second All-Pro teams for the 2016-17 season. The Denver Broncos had three selections — outside linebacker Von Miller and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, Jr.
For Miller, it was the fifth time in his six-year career he's been named to the AP's All-Pro team, and the third time he's wound up on the first team. Talib was named as a second-team All-Pro back in 2013 for the work he did with the New England Patriots, and Harris earned second-team honors in 2014 and 2015.
For Denver's cornerback duo, this is a year of firsts. For the first time in either player's career, they've both been named first-time All-Pros and it happened in the same year.
Talk about firsts. In an effort to adjust and recognize the prevalence of nickel and dime sub-packages in the modern NFL, for the first time ever, the AP allowed for three cornerbacks to make the All-Pro team.
According to Andrew Mason, the selection of Talib and Harris marks the first time in modern NFL history that two cornerbacks from the same team were named first-team All-Pro. Mason explains:
Together, Harris and Talib became the Broncos' first All-Pro cornerbacks since Champ Bailey, and the only pair of first-team cornerbacks since at least 1962, when the term "cornerback" was gaining traction. (Before then, teams used two "defensive halfbacks" for the responsibilities cornerbacks now have.)
Miller also became the Broncos' first three-time first-team All-Pro selection since Bailey from 2004-06, which puts him in elite Broncos company. Only six Broncos earned three first-team All-Pro nods in their Broncos careers: Miller, Bailey, Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, Karl Mecklenburg and Rick Upchurch.
The Broncos are breaking all kinds of new ground with their sensational defensive personnel.
Five Hot Threads On The MHH ForumsIs Kyle Shanahan The Right Fit? Who Should Broncos Target For Head Coach? Where Broncos Sit In Draft Order Vance Joseph Denver's Top Choice? Free Agent Wish LIst
To have two players at the same position named first-team All-Pro is a special accomplishment that will go down in the all-time team annals. It's also a representation of how savvy GM John Elway has proven to be as a talent evaluator and and front office closer — acquiring elite talent from both the college ranks and the free agent market.
Elway is the only NFL GM during the last five years to acquire future Pro Bowl players through the draft, street free agency, unrestricted free agency and college free agency. When you hear buzz that the Broncos aren't responding to Wade Phillips' expiring contract with alacrity, now you know why.
With the personnel Elway has acquired and put in place, the Broncos are confident they can get elite production out of their defense with just about any coordinator who knows what they're doing.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.