Courtney Brown, Ebenezer Ekuban, Michael Myers, Gerard Warren, and Ron Dayne, these are the five new additions to the Denver Bronco's roster. These names sound like five men trying out for the remake of the Dirty Dozen. You remember the Dirty Dozen, the 1967 movie staring Lee Marvin, as a WWII army major given a chance to make up for his past indiscretions by training a band of discarded and forgotten misfits into a crack commando squad who have to perform a suicide mission in order to receive complete pardons. These men are definitely disregarded misfits, but can they fulfill their mission successfully, leading the Broncos past the first round of the playoffs? (To bad we don't have Jim Brown like Lee Marvin did. That would solve the running back situation.)
Now, I know that Courtney Brown and company probably don't like being referred to as discarded misfits, but I can't find anything better to say about them at this point. I could go on about their great All American accomplishments in college, one even won a Heisman Trophy (Ron Dayne), but they're not in college anymore, so I need to judge them on their professional careers.
Courtney Brown, 1st overall pick in the 2000, 6' 4'' 290lbs, never more than 6 sacks in his 4 year stay with the Cleveland Browns. Brown played in the first game of the season in 2004 but hurt his foot and was placed on the disabled list. Brown's talent has never been in question; amazingly, it's his durability that has haunted him to this point. For this mediocre career, he earns the tag of under achiever, and a place at the misfit table.
Ebenezer Ekuban, 20th overall pick in 1998, 6'3'' 275, he had 8 sacks in 2004, and only 2.5 sacks in 2003. Now, you don't need to be able to calculate the derivative of a linear equation to realize that this equates to an average of 5.25 sacks over the past two years. This isn't exactly Pro Bowl material, but he did have his best year in 2004, maybe this is a sign of improvement for Mr. Ebenezer. I hope so, because if he doesn't perform it's going to take more than a visit from some Christmas ghosts to save his career. He may have the most potential of all these misfits, but still a misfit.
Michael Myers, 6'2'', 300lbs, highlight career (number wise) in 2003 with 36 tackles and 3 sacks. He will add depth at the position, but I don't see anything in his past that suggests a potential All Pro type year. He seems to be a toss in player in the Droughns trade. You know, like that guy who you just know is going to die early in a movie.
Gerard Warren, 3rd overall pick in 2001, 6'4'' 325lbs, the man that Shanahan wanted to draft that year, but couldn't work out a deal to get him. Well, now Shanahan has his man, let's hope he scouted this guy better than the guy we drafted that year, Willie Middlebrooks, Denver's 2001 first round draft pick. In Gerard's defense, he was a five year starter for the Cleveland Browns. On the other side of that coin though, the Cleveland Browns were 4-11 in 2004. He's tied for the second biggest disappointment of this bunch.
Last but not least, there's Ron Dayne, our big winner for Mr. Under Achiever. The 11th overall pick in 2000, 5'10'' 245lbs, a former Heisman Trophy winner, a perfect example of the Heisman curse. This man set the division I single season rushing record with 6397 yds. He has a whopping total of 2067yds for his entire NFL career. What happened to the man that didn't need a hole to run through at the college level? Oh yeah, he got drafted by a professional football team and had to run against the best defenders on earth. The not so great Dayne needs to realize, he's playing against the best of the best, and he needs to train like it. It's all about heart and desire.
So, can our version of Lee Marvin (Mike Shanahan) lead this bunch to a playoff victory? I don't know for sure, but I do know that with the health of Quentin Griffin and Mike Anderson in question, and the inexperience of Tatum Bell, we need Ron Dayne to find some will to compete. As far as our defense is concerned, with the departure of Montea Reagor and Reggie Hayward, we have no choice as fans, but to believe in this motley crew of under achievers. This seems like a desperate time for the Denver Bronco franchise, and a lot its decision makers. Just like Lee Marvin and his rag-tag band of warriors.
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