Manny Ramirez was an almost non-entity for the Broncos. After being signed to a contract on January 4, 2011, Ramirez never got on the field until he was used in some spot duty during Denver's playoff loss to New England.
The Detroit Lions drafted Ramirez with high expectations in 2007. He had been listed as the #4 overall offensive guard prospects by ESPN Insider. In his four years with Detroit, he played in only eighteen games with fifteen starts. His best season was in 2008 when he earned thirteen starts, drew only three penalties and gave up only one-half of a sack. He was waived by Detroit in October of 2010 and signed to a contract by Denver three months later.
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A highly touted -- 4th overall guard according to ESPN Insider's draft scouting -- rookie in 2007, Ramirez saw the field in only a single game for Detroit, playing on special teams. In 2008, he played in four games with three starts for the LIons. His third year was his best with fifteen games, thirteen starts, did not commit any penalties and only gave up 1/2 of sack. Nevertheless, Ramirez was waived by the Lions in October of 2010. He was signed by Denver in January of 2011, made it through the lockout and training camp to secure a spot on the roster. He appeared in only two games for Denver.
The swing spot for guard/center will likely come down to either Ramirez (a 4 year vet), Hochstein (a 36 year old vet) or someone who is not yet on the roster. Ramirez is primarily a G, but received reps at center, where he seems to have the job down. Ramirez has been an inconsistent player -- pancaking a defender on one down only to get forced into the backfield on the next. His functional strength is incredible, though you wouldn't guess it by looking at the majority of his performance..
If resigned, it is projected that Ramirez would make the league minimum of $700,000. It seems like there would be nothing to lose by bringing him back for training camp fodder at the very least.
Pros: An outstanding run blocker who can really plow the field. A powerful lineman who uses his strength to occasionally steamroll defenders. Possesses good bulk, power and surprising quickness.
Cons: Needs to improve as a pass protector. Doesn't have the best technique against speedy rushers and lacks the balance to contain them. Plays high and gets pushed backwards.
WHAT TO DO?
Given that Ramirez is due to earn the league minimum in 2012, there does not seem to be any significant reasons to not bring him back for a look during OTAs, mini camps and training camp. If he can improve and be more consistent in his play, he might be worth a look as a back up.