It is widely accepted here on MHR that the Broncos need an extra back firstly to provide depth but also to help us with short yardage situations (a big back would be preferable). Unfortunately two of the guys that we targeted in this years draft Toby Gerhart and Montario Hardesty where off the board when we picked in the 3rd round (we may well have tried to trade up to get one but other teams might have been asking for a bit too much in return).
So what do we do now?
Well we actually have a couple of backs on our roster currently, Bruce Hall and Lance Ball, i will try and take a look at what qualites they could bring to the team. Also we have just picked up Chris Brown from Oklahoma and Toney Baker from Carolina State in UDFA so lets have a look at who might fill the fourth RB slot behind Moreno, Buckhalter and Arrington.
At Jerermy Bolanders request i have added a J.J Arrington profile as well, we generally don't know to much about the guy so this is a good opportunity to see what he can bring to our backfield, he already has the third RB slot on our roster so i won't include him in the poll.
John Bena's post on MHR on the Day Hall was signed:
Hall (5-foot-11, 205 pounds), who entered the NFL with Buffalo as a college free agent in 2008, is a second-year player who spent the majority of his two seasons on the Bills' practice squad. He was signed to the Bills' active roster and dressed but did not play in Buffalo's 2008 season finale against New England.
Hall, 24, split time as a running back and quarterback in college at the University of Mississippi (2006-07) after spending time at Northeast Community College (2005), Troy University (2004) and Wake Forest (2003). Hall totaled 416 yards and a touchdown on 85 carries (4.9 avg.) while adding 15 catches for 149 yards (9.9 avg.) and one score in 23 games over two seasons at Mississippi.
He was an all-state selection at Northeast Community College (Norfolk, Neb.) in 2003 and earned the Offensive Backs Most Valuable Player Award after passing for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for nearly 300 yards. He worked on Troy's scout team while having to sit out due to the NCAA transfer rule in 2004. Hall redshirted as a true freshman at Wake Forest in 2003.
Hall attended Milton High School in Orlando, Fla., where he ranked No. 45 on the Orlando Sentinel's Top 100 Florida prospects list. He totaled 5,646 passing yards and 61 touchdowns while completing 357-of-650 pass attempts during his career. He also contributed 476 carries for 2,534 yards and 31 touchdowns. He led the team to the district championship as a junior.
Bruce Tarahn Christopher Hall, who majored in exercise science at Mississippi, was born March 18, 1985, in Milton, Fla.
Hall was a guy that our new RB's coach Eric Studesville thought highly enough of to bring him in here when we wanted to fill the 4th spot. As you can see he didn't get any playing time with the Bills but he was resigned to their practise squad for 2009 so they must have liked his progress and wanted to keep him around just in case injury. He is an interesting prospect because he can pass but i think with 4 QB's on the roster he won't be asked to step into that role much, we would be seeing him as a pure running back. Other than this there doesn't seem to be much around on the internet regarding his abilities or any videos for us to watch so i guess we are going to have to take the word of our new RB coach on this one for now. My guess he probably doesn't make the roster and he is definitely not the short yardage power back that we could do with.
Lance Ball (born June 19, 1985 in Teaneck, New Jersey) is a free agent American football running back who is a member of the the Denver Broncos of the National Football League.He was signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2008. Ball has also been a member of the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans.
He played college football at the University of Maryland. He had four 100-yard games in his last seven starts during his sophomore season, and emerged as one of the top running backs in the ACC, rushing for 903 yards with six touchdowns. He was the third-leading rusher in the conference with a 82.1 per-game average, and earned second-team All-ACC honors. In his junior season, he again led the team in rushing with 815 yards.
POSITIVES: Hard-running, one-speed ball-carrier who picks up the tough yardage. Runs with good lean, displays solid vision, and quickly finds the hole. Displays straight-ahead running power, bounces off tackles, and keeps his feet moving. Picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact and falls forward when tackled. Can cut back in a small area and adequate catching the ball out of the backfield. He is a natural runner with good vision, has very good feet for a player his size, can make defenders miss or go through them, has a knack for finding holes, also has good hands as a pass-catcher.
NEGATIVES: Does not possess the speed or agility to turn the corner. Not an elusive back who creates yardage. Must pick up the intensity as a blocker.
ANALYSIS: Ball is a well-built running back with potential as a situational short-yardage runner at the next level.
Sounds good right? Well yes he may be a good fit for short yardage situations.. In the one game he played with the Colts he got 88 yards in 14 touches against the Titans backups in week 17, 6 yards per touch.
Wow who knew we had this guy waiting in the wings.. Maybe Gerhart won't be missed that much! For further evidence of Ball's qualities check out these youtube vids.. (not great quality but you can get a good feel for his skills.
Ok so those are the guys that were already on the roster but what about the draft?.. Oh yer we didn't get anyone in the draft! In fact not that many teams did, only 14 RBs were taken in the draft compared to 27wrs and 20TEs so it wasn't a particularly deep draft for RB. Or possibly it was just much deeper at other positions which caused the RBs to drop a bit.
Despite (/because of) that we did manage to pick up two good prospects in UDFA.
Baker (5-9 1/2, 234) ran 4.59 and 4.70 in the 40, had a 37-inch vertical, a 9-foot, 6-inch broad jump, a 4.30-second short shuttle, a 7.33 three-cone drill and did 27 bench press repetitions at 225 pounds. - Gil Brandt
That doesn't look to bad right? Well the problem with Baker was that he underwent reconstructive knee surgery, he got the injury early in the 2007 season and didn't play in the rest or the 2008 season at all.
Year Team G Rush Yds Yd/Rush TDs Rec Yds Yd/Rec TDs 2005 NCSt 11 124 546 4.4 5 13 106 8.2 1 2006 NCSU 12 157 688 4.4 6 21 177 8.4 0 2007 NCSU 1 10 38 3.8 0 3 38 12.7 0 2009 NCSU 12 160 773 4.8 6 28 355 12.7 3 career 36 451 2045 4.5 17 65 676 10.4 4
Despite being granted a sixth year of eligibility, Baker is testing the draft waters even though it's far from certain he'll be selected. The biggest reason why teams may pass on the North Carolina native is he'll be running on a reconstructed knee that required two surgeries, causing him to miss the entire 2008 season and most of 2007. Baker came back this season to play in all 12 of North Carolina State's games, finishing with a team-leading 773 yards rushing and 355 receiving while scoring nine touchdowns. However, he also had some fumbling problems in 2009 and often couldn't get a good burst off that injured knee. Injury woes derailed Baker's career after he showed plenty of promise in his first two seasons with the Wolfpack, rushing for 1,234 yards and 11 TDs before being named to the 2007 preseason list for the Doak Walker Award. Instead, Baker fought through a disappointing stint at N.C. State following one of the best prep careers ever with 10,231 rushing yards - at the time third-most in national high school history - and 161 touchdowns. Baker, who turns 24 in June, is a talented receiver who could be a good third-down back in the NFL if a team is willing to take a chance on him.
So with a bit of pro level conditioning could this guy be the short yardage back that we are looking for? Make up your own mind by checking out these highlight videos.
- Weight: 210 lbs.
- College: Oklahoma
The Good: Well-built, elusive ball-carrier who runs with an aggressive style. Displays good vision, sees the hole and quickly gets through it. Runs low to the ground behind his pads and effectively follows blocks everywhere on the field. Quick footed, makes defenders miss, and weaves his way through the traffic on the inside. Shows a good degree of patience in his running, resilient and a tenacious blocker downfield when necessary. Solid receiver out of the backfield.
The Bad: Shows a burst of speed yet cannot beat defenders into the open field or run to daylight. Not a back who breaks a lot of tackles on the inside.
The Verdict: Brown has been a terrific ball-carrier at Oklahoma, sharing the duties in the backfield. He offers a complete game and has all the skills to be a productive second back for an NFL team.
Career Rushing Receiving Year Team G Rush Yds Yds/G Avg TD Rec RecYds Yds/G Avg Lng RecTDs 2006 Oklahoma (11-3) 5 70 343 68.6 4.9 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 2007 Oklahoma (11-3) 13 158 611 47.0 3.9 9 10 83 6.4 8.3 18 1 2008 Oklahoma (12-2) 14 217 1220 87.1 5.6 20 15 109 7.8 7.3 25 1 2009 Oklahoma (8-5) 13 182 749 57.6 4.1 7 19 131 10.1 6.9 19 1 Career 45 627 2923 64.9 4.6 42 44 323 7.2 6.7 62 3
He was a productive back for the Sooners but never showed the true next level skills to be considered a high draft pick. It is a good pick up because he has a lot of experience against top competition and he could be an effective backup in case one of our starters goes down to injury (i'm looking at you buck). He is not the big bruising running back that could help us in short yardage but he does have some nice cutting skills and could come in and gain yards, especially with our upgraded O-Line. Anyway check him out for your self..
Johnathan Jerone "J. J." Arrington (born January 23, 1983 in Nashville, North Carolina). He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round of the 2005 draft. He played college football at College of the Canyons and California
From our own Tim Lynch on the day of his second signing attempt.
Arrington (5-foot-9, 212 pounds) is a fifth-year running back who originally signed with Denver a year ago today, but was waived May 28, 2009. He spent the 2009 season out of football.
Arrington, 27, spent his first four NFL seasons with Arizona, which selected him in the second round (44th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft from the University of California. He has played 58 career regular-season games (8 starts), totaling 183 rushes for 654 yards (3.6 avg.) with three touchdowns along with 91 receptions for 693 yards (7.6 avg.) with two scores. Arrington owns 114 career kickoff returns for 2,694 yards (23.6 avg.) with two touchdowns.
In 2008, Arrington saw time in 11 regular-season games (3 starts) and all four postseason contests for the Cardinals, who won the NFC West title and advanced to Super Bowl XLIII. He rushed for 187 yards on 31 carries (6.0 avg.) with one touchdown and tied a career high with 29 receptions for 255 yards (8.8 avg.) with one score during the regular season. He also returned 36 kickoffs for 923 yards (25.6 avg.) with a 93-yard touchdown return.
During his rookie campaign with Arizona in 2005, Arrington rushed for a career-high 370 yards on 112 carries (3.3 avg.) with two touchdowns and had 25 receptions for 139 yards (5.6 avg.). He returned 67 kickoffs for 1,520 yards (22.7 avg.) with a 99-yard touchdown return for the Cardinals in 2006.
California's J.J. Arrington, who led the nation with 2,018 rushing yards in 2004, was the fastest running back at the combine with a 4.46 mark in the 40. Some might question his size (5-81/2, 214), but it didn't prevent him from rushing for at least 100 yards in all 12 games last season and putting up the most yards by a Pacific-10 runner since Marcus Allen's 2,427 in 1981
Just to put that combine 40 score in perspective Darren Sproles ran a 4.48.. Faster than Sproles you say.. i'm in!
Ok cool we have ourselves a second round running back.. at least 100 per game in college.. again pretty impressive.. Josh McDaniels was excited about getting this guy and this quote will tell you why.
"J.J. Arrington was the only back who played in the fourth quarter for the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl," McDaniels said. "That tells you all you need to know. They were trailing. Obviously, Pittsburgh is a blitzing team and they trusted him enough to be the only guy to play in the fourth quarter because he had to pick up the blitz against good linebackers and he caught a couple passes. And he did that all year."
But don't just take his opinion.. have a look for your self!
There are plenty more short highlights on NFL.com just click on his name underneath the video and it takes you to all his video clips.
Ok so that's it, that is who is currently on our roster. Which of these guys do you like most for our 4th spot? (Arrington not included because he already has the third spot.) Of course there is still time to pick up more competition in free agency but these guys are inexpensive and a couple of them have pretty good potential. My view is that if none of these guys work out this year and they will get some carries in camp and pre-season we will go after a big bruiser type RB in next years draft, maybe someone like Mark Ingram?. Hope you enjoyed this, i enjoyed doing the research and learning about the lesser known guys on our roster.