The Breakdown - August 9th 2009

After the response to the last edition I was more than eager to contribute another issue. Today I will be continuing my personal rankings for more of my projected starters as well as touching on a common response theme from the last post.

Running backs get the call today and the task in front of me is not easy. There are quite a few question marks at the position so I look forward to reading all sorts of responses and different takes on how these positions are going to pan out.

However my discussion topic is simple. Which Denver Bronco has the most to prove? Each player has something to prove, but who's seat is the hottest? And why?

More to come after the jump.

Okay so lets dive right into a look at Denver at the running back position.

RB1: Knowshon Moreno
Vision - 7/10
Speed - 7.5/10
Power - 6.5/10
Elusiveness - 9/10
Overall - 8/10

Before the massive influx of replies regarding my rankings of Moreno, I would like to say that the overall score I give is not an average. Averaging those scores is not an effective way to rate a player in my opinion since many players are role players and do something particularly well. In this case Moreno ranks high on my elusiveness rating. If you've watched his highlights, which if you haven't you need to, you can spot something special in the way Knowshon runs. It is almost as if he has a sixth sense for avoiding tackles and making the exact right move at the right time. Whether this translates into the NFL at a premier level remains to be seen. But in the end Moreno Denver's first overall pick and in a team with several defensive needs, that speaks volumes as to how much potential McDaniels and Co believe he has - and that is good enough for me. Moreno loses some points in vision mostly due to his lack of experience in the NFL. It will take time for him to adjust to hitting smaller holes that close much quicker. A quick note about his speed - I would classify him more as quick than fast. His 4.62 recorded 40 time at the combine suggests his top end speed is not elite. He has a great attitude, though, and you can't argue his production.

RB2: Ryan Torain
Vision - 7/10
Speed - 7.5/10
Power - 8/10
Elusiveness - 7.5/10
Overall - 7.5/10

This pick will cause a bit of controversy, but I'm going to stand by it. Torain, if he can stay healthy, can be a perfect complement to Moreno. What he "lacks" in elusiveness he makes up for in his strength. He plays extremely physically which has contributed to his long list of injuries. I want to make a point of saything that Torain would easily have been a first or second round pick in the 2008 draft, but injuries and a lack luster 40 time dropped him to the 5th and into our hands. He consistently gets praise during practices and I think this spot is his to lose. I know this is going to be an unpopular choice, but if he can stay healthy Torain can be a stud and will earn this spot.

RB3: Correll Buckhalter
Vision - 8/10
Speed - 8.5/10
Power - 7/10
Elusiveness - 7.5/10
Overall - 7.5/10

Buckhalter was a terrific pick up for Denver and will bolster a rather ridiculous RB corp from a year ago. For being over 30 Buckhalter is suprisingly fast and agile and will make defenders miss. He plays strong and will provide a constant push on Torain for the 2nd spot, but an aging motor won't win him a role as the feature back. However, he will provide excellent depth to an extremely improved RB corp.

FB1: Peyton Hillis
Blocking: 9/10
Power: 9/10
Catching: 8/10
Overall: 9/10

Hillis was the steal of the 2008 draft. He is going to be an extremely versatile and talented player in Denver's new offense, but not with the running backs. He is an excellent fullback with great hands. He can tear through blocks and pick up crucial first downs in short yardage situations. However, with his strength and block ability, he will be a larger asset at FB creating large holes for the show stoppers in Moreno and Torain. After a freak accident while play RB I suspect McDaniels will look to avoid a similair situation and keep Peyton primarily in a FB role. He can still be an explosive runner here and this will open him up to create match up problems for the defense in coverage. Theres no doubt that McDaniels will feature him in a variety of roles, but hopefully keep the focus at FB. He is a monster and Denvers offense is that much better for him being present.

I will say that these serious projections. I understand that many of you have a different ideas and I look forward to reading them all. Now onto today's discussion topic.

Pressure Cooker
Some will say Marshall. Or McDaniels. Or Orton. Or Smith. Or Ayers. Or Moreno. But the question is simply this: who has the most to prove this year?

McDaniels: Credited with overhauling an already extremely "productive" offense and chasing out one of the leagues top QBs, Josh is going to have his job cut out for him. He will be under extreme pressure at all times during the season and baring a disastrous season, will more than likely have deja vu next year if the team is lackluster.

Orton: Replacing a popular QB is never easy. Especially when that QB is the prodigal son, Jay Cutler. Orton's pressure lies on quieting his critics and winning games. Orton needs to put up numbers in a big way to get out from the shadow of #6. Otherwise Denver will turn on him fairly quickly

Marshall: Demanded a trade and didn't get it. Wants a new contract and didn't get it. Well Marshall has pretty much dug his own grave. With practically zero leverage, Marshall is going to have to step up this season if he wants to get paid like the big boys. If he stinks up the field the same way he did the MSM it isgoing to be a very long season for him.

An extremely talented corner who can take the ball away. Having been the result of a trade from day one next year, Smith will contantly be watched. This season he can prove that he plays bigger than his 5'9" frame and that he can be a dominant force in this leage. If he doesn't break out in his play making soon the questions about trading up will circulate quickly and Smiths life will become a lot more frustrating.

What do you think Denver? Who has the most to prove?
And who will respond the best?

I look forward to your responses and hope you enjoyed The Breakdown.

P.S. With Kool-Aide - sip, don't chug.

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

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