Denver Broncos Countdown to Kickoff: Ryan Clady - 3 Days

Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Newly minted team captain Ryan Clady is our 3rd most important Bronco

The Rankings

Overall rank (1-20)

Monty

Bronco Mike

Tim Lynch

Ian

Henson

Scotty

Payne

Topher Doll

Big Pete

Mr. East

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Jon Heath

3rd

2nd

3rd
4th
6th
3rd
5th

2nd

2nd
--- 2nd

From the Horses' Mouth

Big Pete

Ryan Clady is a top 3 Left Tackle in the game today, and do you know what? He's OURS!!! Putting value on the person who's biggest responsibility is to protect Peyton Manning is hard to do. How high up should he be? I contend that he should be 2nd only to Manning. Without Manning, the Broncos go down the toilet (unless Brock is another Tom Brady who comes in for an injured Drew Bledsoe, but that's HIGHLY unlikely). Who's more important, Von Miller who makes our defense better, or the person who is responsible for having our season continue by protecting the ONLY player on this entire team that we can't afford to miss? To me, that's enough argument to put Clady at #2. But ultimately, him being in the Top 3 of our countdown series is plenty good for me. We have him locked up long term, and our offensive line was noticeably better with him in the lineup (albeit briefly). The best part about Clady being #3? It's that there's only 3 days until KICKOFF!!!! GO BRONCOS!!!

Bronco Mike

The Broncos knew just how valuable Clady is to their team when they inked him to a deal that pays him like a top 3 LT. After watching Chris Clark trying to fill in this preseason, they were absolutely correct and Ryan Clady is worth every penny. Our offensive line transforms in effectiveness with him starting. Running the ball, pass protection, all of it add up to tell the story of Ryan Clady and just how dominant a player he is. Suggs or Dumervil, whoever is going to face Clady will have their hands full.

Let me address another sentiment I've seen around these boards consistently. "Peyton Manning's so good it doesn't matter who our line is". BULL. Yeah, Peyton has the quickest release in the game. Yeah, Peyton is a genius when it comes to diagnosing opposing defenses and putting his guys in positions to succeed. But having a quality starting 5 in front of him only helps augment what he is capable of doing. With Ryan protecting his blindside, Peyton can concentrate on pushing the ball downfield.

Monty

Ryan Clady is my favorite current Denver Broncos player. He has been since only months after the Broncos drafted him in 2008 - when my optimistic thoughts on him as a college prospect in the NFL were confirmed with my own two eyes. Ryan Clady can play at the highest level. And he can dominate.

I have him ranked as my #2 most important Bronco based on both importance of position and talent. Clady is tasked with the single-most important job on the Broncos' roster: protect Peyton Manning. He does that extraordinarily well. He also graded extremely proficient as a run-blocker in his first three seasons - his last two less so, but I expect that to improve this year with the introduction of zone-blocking Godfather Alex Gibbs to the Broncos as an offensive consultant. Ryan Clady, who used zone blocking extensively at Boise State, will take to the Alex Gibbs' system like Jesse Pinkman to blue crystal. Finally, Clady is healthy when it matters. In his five-year NFL career, he has never missed a single game, a single start. The Broncos paid this guy for a reason. Now Ryan Clady will pay them dividends.

Notable Broncos to wear #3:

Kicker Rich Karlis (he kicked barefoot folks!!!)

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