|05-04-2005, 07:05 PM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
Don Banks article
RB-crazy Broncos add Clarett to deep stable
Posted: Sunday April 24, 2005 3:58PM; Updated: Sunday April 24, 2005 4:13PM
NEW YORK -- We'll know the end of the world as we know it is near when the NFL Draft comes and goes and the Denver Broncos don't select a running back.
Maurice Clarett is a Bronco. Of course he is. We should have seen this one coming all along. Nobody hoards running backs quite like the guys with the horse's head on their helmets. Clarett is the 10th different RB drafted by Denver since 1998 and he joins a stable of runners that already includes Tatum Bell, Quentin Griffin, Mike Anderson, Ron Dayne and others. And let's not forget the Broncos basically gave away Reuben Droughns to Cleveland last month.
It's not a matter of if Clarett will get a shot to carry the ball in Denver -- it's when? Eventually every Broncos running back gets his 15 minutes of fame. Or at least that has been the pattern since Terrell Davis' knees started breaking down in 1999. Denver doesn't so much have a depth chart at the position as they do a 4x100 relay team. And the newest member to be passed the baton is Clarett, who if memory serves me correctly hasn't played in a while.
"We feel like he's got some skills,'' said Denver head coach Mike Shanahan, who chose Clarett late on Saturday night with the third round's final selection, just about the time Mel Kiper was letting his hair down. "We like the way he plays. When you take a shot on somebody, you're not really sure it's going to work out. But we thought it was worth a gamble.''
Maurice Clarett a gamble? Not exactly breaking news.
• Is it just me, or is Shanahan taking a lot of advice from his assistant coaches? First, the Broncos acquired former Cleveland defensive linemen Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown, Michael Myers, and Ebenezer Ekuban this offseason, largely because well-respected Broncos defensive-line coach Andre Patterson vouched for them. Patterson spent the past two years coaching all four of those players as the Cleveland D-line coach.
And now we find out that longtime Broncos running-backs coach Bobby Turner went to bat for Clarett with Shanahan, persuading his boss to roll the dice in the third round on the onetime Ohio State star.
Sounds to me like Shanahan, without a playoff win since January 1999, is trying to spread the accountability around. (Relax, Mike. That one was strictly tongue-in-cheek. Everybody in Denver knows you're to blame).
• And while we're at it, the Broncos might be a little over-stocked at cornerback as well. True, they lost Kelly Herndon to Seattle in free agency. But they still have Champ Bailey and Lenny Walls, and on the draft's first day Denver took three -- count 'em, three -- cornerbacks in rounds two and three: Oklahoma State's Darrent Williams, Washington State's Karl Paymah and Maryland's Domonique Foxworth. That's a lot of competition for the nickelback spot.
• The more things change in Washington, the more they ... change in Washington. And by that I mean a state of flux has become the status quo. I don't care what Joe Gibbs and Daniel Snyder say regarding Patrick Ramsey still being the Redskins' starting quarterback, Washington didn't pay the price to draft Auburn's Jason Campbell in the first round in order to give backup Mark Brunell someone to talk to on the sideline.
Ramsey asked for a trade when Brunell was acquired last offseason, and I'm guessing he and agent Jimmy Sexton aren't doing handstands over this development either. But this much we know now more than ever: Ramsey is not really Gibbs' guy and that won't change any time soon.
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