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View Full Version : "Under the Radar Players"... A poll!


outdoor_miner
12-08-2009, 11:16 AM
As we come down the homestretch of the season, fighting for a playoff birth (which is all I really think any Bronco fan could have asked for this year), I've been thinking about all of the "under the radar" guys on this team that have contributed to this awesome year. This board has been filled with discussions of guys like Doom, Marshall, Orton, Clady, Dawkins, Moreno etc, and they all have done a lot to put us in position to possibly make the playoffs. But, in my opinion, the season has really been defined by the success of some players that fans may not have given a lot of thought to (or thought very highly of) coming into the year.

You may question my decision to leave off Kyle Orton... I personally think he's been the most pleasant surprise this year (well - maybe Doom), but he's also been discussed to death, and I fear that this would disintegrate into an argument about him. This is really about honoring those Broncos who haven't gotten a ton of recognition on this board this year...

So, without further ado, a poll to determine which "under the radar" player has delivered the most surprisingly successful performance of the year (so far). This is not really who has had the best year, but who has most exceeded your expectations. In addition to your poll vote, it would also be interesting to see a ranking (perhaps 1-3) of the top 3 performers in your opinion.

The candidates:

- Andre Goodman - 4 ints, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and has been a solid #2 cb on the league's 2nd ranked pass defense. Worlds better than Dre Bly (in my humble opinion)

- Renaldo Hill - According to Brian Dawkins, Hill is the "quarterback of the secondary". He is 5th on the team in tackles with 50, has 2 ints, a forced fumble, and seems to always be in the right place at the right time.

- Mario Haggan - What an unexpectedly good player! Many thought his ascension to #1 on the depth chart was a motivational ploy. 6th on the team in tackles with 45, leads the team in Tackles For Loss with 9, 3 forced fumbles, and seems to be exceptional against the run.

- Andre Davis - So much more left in the tank than we were led to believe. An intimidating presence in the middle of the field on 1st and 2nd down. 3rd on the team in tackles with 72. 3.5 sacks. 2nd on the team with 8 Tackles for Loss.

- DJ Williams - After yet another position change, he leads the team in tackles (16th overall in the NFL @ 89), and has also been a surprisingly effective blitzer with 3.5 sacks. Also has 2 forced fumbles.

- Darrel Reid - 2nd on the team with 4 sacks. He doesn't seem to be playing OLB (like was suggested by the staff when he was brought to town), but he is a disruptive presence on 3rd down and on special teams.

- Ronald Fields / Kenny Peterson / Ryan McBean - Might not be fair to these guys to group them together, but separating them seemed a little silly to me. The most maligned unit coming into the season, they have been solid, which is more than anyone expected. Is it just me, or is our run defense a lot better with McBean playing?

- Correll Buckhalter - Who knew he was this explosive? Certainly not TheRev. ;) 563 rushing yards (at 5.4 YPA) + 225 receiving yards, for a total of 788 yards from scrimmage (only 82 yards behind Knowshon).

- Matt Prater - Many people questioned McD for not brining in competition, but Prater is quietly coming into his own. Has received numerous honors this year, and besides one bad game (Cleveland, in swirling winds), has been a clutch performer. Game winning overtime kick vs. New England; 2 big kicks in the Cinci win.

- Lonie Paxton - A poem: Oh, those long snaps, what a sight to see! Spiraling backwards accurate-ly. Maligned you were, perhaps fairly. You've "soldiered on" long-snapping with nobility.

Broncosfreak_56
12-08-2009, 11:18 AM
Renaldo Hill

vancejohnson82
12-08-2009, 11:21 AM
I can't vote DJ Williams just because I don't see him as under the radar....

I'm gonna go with Haggan...in all honesty, I expected this type of play from HIll, Goodman and Davis...in my eyes they were all brought in here to start and to contribute big time...Goodman perhaps had the toughest task because every other guy we brought in here to play opposite of Bailey flamed out and was exposed (thanks for the memories Lenny Walls)

Haggan is constantly involved in plays.....and he is rarely ever mentioned on the board or during the games....

OBF1
12-08-2009, 11:23 AM
Wesly Woodyard has been all over the place this season. Putting pressure on the QB, making all kinds of key stops.

outdoor_miner
12-08-2009, 11:30 AM
I'm going with:

1. Andre Goodman
2. Andra Davis
3a. Mario Haggan
3b. Matt Prater
3c. Ronald Fields / Kenny Peterson / Ryan McBean

Bronco LB52
12-08-2009, 11:31 AM
Andre Davis? WTF! How does any Bronco fan make that gaffe?

outdoor_miner
12-08-2009, 11:31 AM
Wesly Woodyard has been all over the place this season. Putting pressure on the QB, making all kinds of key stops.

Suppose I should have added him. Sorry about that. :)

Bronco LB52
12-08-2009, 11:37 AM
Goodman is hardly a surprise being that he was a proven commodity before he got here. He led the Dolphins last season with five interceptions. The Broncos paid him $9.8 million in guaranteed money to come here. This is what Goodman was supposed to do.

Same goes with Andra Davis. He showed he was a capable backer with the Browns for many years.

Tombstone RJ
12-08-2009, 11:38 AM
The big fellas up front deserve the most credit for this 3-4 defense. They have been more than anyone here could have expected.

ward63
12-08-2009, 11:38 AM
Woodyard!!!!

s0phr0syne
12-08-2009, 11:46 AM
Tough to put a finger on, many of your candidates are good selections.

I think Andre Davis has been key in the games where we've had success--a lot of our success has been predicated on stopping the run and putting opposing teams in tough 3rd down situations.

Renaldo has saved a few big plays, most recently the gadget play that Haley drew up against Denver this past Sunday.

Reid and Haggan are better than advertised, and are both key ST contributors.

But I think you have to give the ultimate surprise performance to our 3 men upfront, all composed of castoffs or 2nd-rate players. They've performed really beyond anything I could have expected in our victories, although it looked like they may have been exploited in the losing streak. Tough to know how key a health McBean is, but since he's been back things have improved markedly.

TheElusiveKyleOrton
12-08-2009, 11:49 AM
HILLIS! He's so under the radar because McD needs to justify his pick and keep knowshon in there! Also, because he's white!

/BroncoFan7'd

jhns
12-08-2009, 11:50 AM
I voted Haggan. I didn't even know who he was before the season. He also isn't talked about much. Fields is a close second. I questioned him being the starting NT before the season. He has done great. Buckhalter is a surprise because in the sense that I never expected him to last this long. He was constantly injured.

Most the rest of those are not surprises. Davis, Goodman, and Hill were brought in to start. They have played better than I expected but it isn't a big surprise that they are playing good. They also get their props from reporters and anouncers all the time. Prater is young so I expected him to improve. DJ has been a stud and nothing has changed. He is anything but under the radar. Everyone knows who DJ is and what he contributes. Paxton replaced one of the best long snappers in the game and was paid a rediculous salary for a long snapper. I had never followed him before but my expectations will stay very high for him.

outdoor_miner
12-08-2009, 11:53 AM
Andre Davis? WTF! How does any Bronco fan make that gaffe?

Are you ridiculing my spelling error of his name (Andra vs Andre)? Or his inclusion on the list?

If it's the former, well, I apologize for the egregious mistake.
If it's the latter, I heard A TON about how he was over the hill, well past his prime, and flat out bad (if a team as bad as Cleveland was willing to let him go). He has been flying all over the field, not unlike Dawkins.

Bronco LB52
12-08-2009, 11:55 AM
Are you ridiculing my spelling error of his name (Andra vs Andre)?

It's confusing when you misspell his name because the Browns used to have Andra Davis (Florida) and Andre Davis (Virginia Tech) on the team at the same time.

Bronco LB52
12-08-2009, 11:56 AM
I think Andre Davis has been key in the games where we've had success--a lot of our success has been predicated on stopping the run and putting opposing teams in tough 3rd down situations.

Go **** yourself!

Tombstone RJ
12-08-2009, 12:00 PM
Go **** yourself!

Wow, the spelling nazi has arrived. Thank you sir, may I have another?!

Los Broncos
12-08-2009, 12:01 PM
Lonie Paxton - Oh, those long snaps, what a sight to see! LMAO!

Bronco LB52
12-08-2009, 12:06 PM
Wow, the spelling nazi has arrived. Thank you sir, may I have another?!

I don't care about people misspelling words, but ****ing up a defensive starter's name in week 14 is inexcusable. It's disrespectful to Andra.

vancejohnson82
12-08-2009, 12:07 PM
i think Andre Davis was a huge part of our season this year...

outdoor_miner
12-08-2009, 12:13 PM
Goodman is hardly a surprise being that he was a proven commodity before he got here. He led the Dolphins last season with five interceptions. The Broncos paid him $9.8 million in guaranteed money to come here. This is what Goodman was supposed to do.

Same goes with Andra Davis. He showed he was a capable backer with the Browns for many years.

I can see what you were saying, and agree somewhat. But, they were supposed to be "stop gaps" at best. Even more - a lot of people in the media argued that they were both over the hill, and not necessarily upgrades over previous players. Instead, they are key cogs in the #3 ranked defense in the NFL. It's unreal to me.

As a fan, I guess I was influenced by the negative perceptions. Clearly, the FO thought highly of them both (as evidenced by their contracts, Goodman's in particular), so you are right that this was somewhat expected. I've just been blown away by how good both guys look.

Bronco LB52
12-08-2009, 12:20 PM
I can see what you were saying, and agree somewhat. But, they were supposed to be "stop gaps" at best. Even more - a lot of people in the media argued that they were both over the hill, and not necessarily upgrades over previous players. Instead, they are key cogs in the #3 ranked defense in the NFL. It's unreal to me.

As a fan, I guess I was influenced by the negative perceptions. Clearly, the FO thought highly of them both (as evidenced by their contracts, Goodman's in particular), so you are right that this was somewhat expected. I've just been blown away by how good both guys look.

You're right, both Goodman and Davis have played at a Pro Bowl level this season. They have outplayed what was expected of them in the preseason. I am stuffing the Pro Bowl ballot boxes for both of them. I suggest you do the same.

Pick Six
12-08-2009, 12:26 PM
There are plenty of good choices, but I went with Goodman. He was expected to be the weak link in that secondary, and he's been a pleasant surprise...

BroncoMan4ever
12-08-2009, 12:34 PM
i gotta give the love to Haggan. this guy was deemed as nothing more than ST help, and backup in Shanahan's defense. suddenly, he is a damn good 3-4 starter for us and is playing awesome.

Rabb
12-08-2009, 12:52 PM
That is tough but I chose Buck because so many people were flipping out that we signed him in the off season and he is just crushing when he has been ont he field

BroncoMan4ever
12-08-2009, 01:05 PM
That is tough but I chose Buck because so many people were flipping out that we signed him in the off season and he is just crushing when he has been ont he field

i loved the signing, just always was wary of his injury past.

but he has been a pleasant surprise. the way he runs, had he been in a situation to be a feature back earlier in his career and avoided the knee injuries, he would have been a beast in this league.

_Oro_
12-08-2009, 01:10 PM
For me it's Dawkins. I thought he'd come here and make a few hits but I had no idea he was going to turn this defense around with his passion and energy. What a MF bada**.

tsiguy96
12-08-2009, 01:12 PM
mario haggan. perennial special teamer to legit, above average starter.

i voted renaldo hill however, as much credit as dawkins and champ get, i think he may be player better than both of them, as far as pure play. dawkins brings the defense together it seems.

Rabb
12-08-2009, 01:31 PM
i loved the signing, just always was wary of his injury past.

but he has been a pleasant surprise. the way he runs, had he been in a situation to be a feature back earlier in his career and avoided the knee injuries, he would have been a beast in this league.

agreed, I think I was in the same exact boat

ZONA
12-08-2009, 04:24 PM
Tough call on this one. I don't think Woodyard was under the radar at all. Last year he proved to be a player who had a nose for where the ball was and that was only his first year. I thought he would improve and thus not really under my radar at all. Same with Goodman, he was and still is solid. Maybe he was under the radar of people who only watch Bronco games and didn't know who he was.

I would have to go with Buckhalter. Not many people understood why he was picked up once the draft was over and we picked the #1 RB (Moreno). I've seen him play before but with the amount of injuries he's had, there was no way I expected him to look as explosive and fast as he has been. It's hard for me to understand why Moreno gets more carries then he does. He seems faster through the hole the Moreno and has better skills at setting up his blocking.

One guy not on that list though is Orton. He was under everybody's radar in the NFL. A throw in if you will on the Cutler trade. After looking terrible in the preseason, he's come out here and showed he's totally under valued. He would have been my first choice if he was on the list.

BlaK-Argentina
12-08-2009, 04:31 PM
Renaldo Hill. I knew he was good but not this good. Has he even missed an assignment this year? All I can remember him doing is saving our ass on a handful of plays.

Blueflame
12-08-2009, 05:34 PM
No LaMont Jordan option? What's up with that? (;D :P)

STBumpkin
12-08-2009, 06:01 PM
Andra Davis: After being picked up from the scrap heap in CLEVELAND (too old, slow, bad, etc...) he is the only front 7 starter who has played a 3-4 exstensively. I think that without his leadership this is a much dfferent D.

Bronx33
12-08-2009, 06:13 PM
wheres the hillis option!!! :P

misturanderson
12-08-2009, 06:28 PM
I've seen him play before but with the amount of injuries he's had, there was no way I expected him to look as explosive and fast as he has been. It's hard for me to understand why Moreno gets more carries then he does. He seems faster through the hole the Moreno and has better skills at setting up his blocking.
You kind of answered your own question. He can't stay healthy enough to be the featured back. He limps off the field at least once a game it seems like. He's amazing in the role he has though.

Durango
12-08-2009, 10:33 PM
For Denver to have the turnaround we've seen on defense, there have to be more than one surprise players. My choice was Andre' Goodman because I thought he was an afterthought in the wake of the departure of both Foxworth and Paymah.

Dawkins doesn't surprise me. I thought Philly was absolutely insane for letting this guy go. Same goes for Buckhalter when you look at the injury history of RB Brian Westbrook. The D-linemen have improved over-all play this season along the line, but they've had some embarrassing letdowns as well. DJ Williams shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. He's easily one of the best LBs in the NFL despite some of the claims I've read here and elsewhere. As for Prater and the longsnapper (sounds like a reality series), who cares? Kickers are vital pieces to an offensive puzzle, it's true, but they're also finicky, inconsistent from year to year (with notable exceptions, obviously) and a dime a dozen on the FA market.

outdoor_miner
12-08-2009, 10:43 PM
FYI - The long snapper was added as a joke. :) Prater, I disagree with you on. A lot of people were calling for his head in Training Camp and the preseason. He looks like he could have a longer career here.

DJ - I probably shouldn't have included him, but he hasn't garnered much attention from the mane (or media) this year, which is what this was about. A lot of people wondered how he would transition to a 3-4. I've also been surprised by his ability to blitz this year. I don't remember him ever having this much success...

Durango
12-08-2009, 10:58 PM
FYI - The long snapper was added as a joke. :) Prater, I disagree with you on. A lot of people were calling for his head in Training Camp and the preseason. He looks like he could have a longer career here.

DJ - I probably shouldn't have included him, but he hasn't garnered much attention from the mane (or media) this year, which is what this was about. A lot of people wondered how he would transition to a 3-4. I've also been surprised by his ability to blitz this year. I don't remember him ever having this much success...

Just my opinion of course, but I put Prater in the pleasant surprise category as opposed to big surprise. If he hadn't straightened out fairly quickly, I have no doubt McDaniels would've started bringing in a long line of wannabes who would eventually spit out some guy who could go 20 of 23 and earn another year. I'm just not impressed with kickers outside of the Steneruds, Elams (in his prime) and Ray Guys.

Popps
12-08-2009, 11:02 PM
Great thread... and a tough decision.

I think overall, you have to credit our D with our success... and that starts up front, and you can't commend McDaniels/Nolan enough for finding guys to fit the scheme that quickly. I liked Fields and Peterson coming into the season... but wasn't sure about McBean. He's been extremely solid.

I still think we should continue to add talent in the front seven, but our line has really outperformed anyone's expectations.

Popps
12-08-2009, 11:04 PM
Orton might be worth a nod on this list, as well. Not the most surprising, but we saw how different this team was without him. Many people expected him to be a total flop. All he did was come in, do what the coaches asked and won games.