FanPost

Warrick Dunn, Anyone?

It just came across the wire that Warrick Dunn has been released by Tampa Bay, along with Derrick Brooks, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard and Cato June. The youth movement is on, and it's not just confined to the front office. Today's moves leave only Matt Bryant, Brian Griese, Josh Bidwell and Ronde Barber as the only players older than the Bucs' Head Coach, Raheem Morris.

I'm sure there will be some talk here about Derrick Brooks, but I figured I'd take a moment to look at Dunn. I know, this post comes a day after I seemingly made the case for Denver to use a 1st-round selection on a running back. However, that wasn't my point at all - it was just to illustrate the perils of pinning a team's RB hopes on a late-round draft choice. Late picks are great for taking chances and/or building depth for the future, but it is by no means a guaranteed path to find a starter.

As many here on MHR have pointed out, Peyton Hillis may be all the Broncos need to fill the first half of a Thunder & Lightning combination. Well, then who's the other half? Selvin Young? Andre Hall? I personally give a wholehearted "NO" to Young and Hall. They have both proven too prolific in the fumble and injury departments for my liking. I'd imagine there are few here who would disagree with that sentiment.

Which of course, brings us squarely to a question of "Who else, then?" The defense is beyond a shambles - that's the state it was in a couple of weeks ago, and the round of cuts made by Brian Xanders and Josh McDaniels turned the situation even more dire. There are actual holes in the roster, which is actually worse than having holes in your defense. Certainly, free agency should go some way towards filling them, but the extent of that remains to be seen. We've all been debating the merits/pitfalls of spending a high draft choice on a running back over the past 24 hours here (shameless plug). I also commented somewhere that free agency would surely give us more insight into what to expect from the draft.

Little did I know that an answer would present itself so quickly. Maybe not "The Answer," but I submit that Dunn makes sense as a possible answer. Warrick has had to answer questions about his size and durability for many years, but by now it should be abundantly clear - he is a very tough running back and quite a durable one at that, no matter his size. Despite his 5'9" 180 lb. frame, Dunn has only missed 1 games over the past 5 seasons. Quite frankly, that is a remarkable number for any running back, even less one of such diminutive build. Here are his statistics over the past five years...

Year

Age

Team

G

Att

Yds

TD

Lg

YPA

Rec

Yds

YPR

TD

Lg

YFS

RRTD

Fum

2004

29

ATL 

16

265

1,106

9

60

4.2

29

294

10.1

0

59

1,400

9

3

2005

30

ATL

16

280

1,416

3

65

5.1

29

220

7.6

1

24

1,636

4

3

2006

31

ATL

16

286

1,140

4

90

4

22

170

7.7

1

18

1,310

5

1

2007

32

ATL

16

227

720

4

38

3.2

37

238

6.4

0

35

9,58

4

2

2008

33

TAM

15

186

786

2

40

4.2

47

330

7

0

36

1,116

2

0

Avg

15.8

248.8

1,033.6

4.4

4.2

32.8

250.4

7.6

0.4

1,284

4.8

1.8

 

Well, obviously he has taken on a lighter load over the past two seasons. However, there is no doubt that Dunn is still an effective RB at the NFL level, and if Denver really just needs a fast back to team up with Peyton Hillis, then why not Dunn? He's fast, tough, has decent hands out of the backfield, is a veteran, a leader, a fine man in the community and one must assume he's not going to be seeking a long-term deal at this juncture. So, what do you guys think? Could Dunn be the Broncos' 2009 Lightning to go along with Hillis' Thunder?

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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