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Denver Broncos select Ryan Clady, OT

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Clady is used to uphill battles.

Whether he faces more of a battle trying to win over a town desperate for playmakers in the draft, or in trying to secure a starting spot agains incumbent Tackles Ryan Harris and Erik Pears, remains to be seen.

But Denver fans should know, that Oline picks don't come any more exciting than this.

Clady has to be the most athletically gifted offensive lineman to come out of the draft in the past 5 years.  Want to talk about ceilings?  For Clady there is no ceiling:  the sky is the limit.  Much ado can be made about his football smarts, but one only has to see the series of games he strung together towards the end of 2007 to know that he CAN dominate:  over the course of three games he allowed 0 stats of any kind to opposing lineman.  You see, he doesn't take kindly to being told he can't get it done.

Clady brings an impressive football resume from Boise, including being a fulltime starter in a zoneblock system, 122 knockdowns, including 21 that resulted in rushing touchdowns.  The sooner he fights his way into the starting lineup, the sooner we start punching it into the endzone.  That HAS to get a Bronco faithful's blood pounding.

I could talk all day about his athletic gifts, from his long reach and vicous hand punch, to his quick feet and elite balance.  His technique doesn't need any work, and this point bears repeating:  from a zoneblock standpoint, he is ready to go.  The only adjustment he has to make is actually working In Shanahan's system, learning the terminology, and learning how the rest of his linemates work.  In Boise, he worked very well, with a  natural ease, when moving in tandem with other linemen, and he has the right attitude to develop that kind of chemistry with the guys here now.  Expect him to make a major push at LT and for Ryan Harris to either be a backup or to displace Pears.

There isn't another lineman in this draft with the franchise caliber athleticism to hang with Cutler, and to hang in there when Cutler does what he needs to do.  We asked for way too much from Lepsis, and then Pears. 

With Clady, those same demands don't even begin to scratch the surface of his potential.