My list of least-known favorite players

May 21, 2007

It seems like every year around this time I find one or two players buried deep in Denver’s roster (or even practice squad) that I begin championing to friends and family. Over the year’s only a couple have risen to the starting line up while most turn out to be duds — and are quietly sent packing. Here’s a look at some of my choices from the last few years:

In 1999-2000, I was enamored with 6th round pick, TE Desmond Clark. I thought he had mad skills and was sad to see him go after the 2001 season; however, he has had considerable success the last few years in Chicago.

In 2001 I began following another sixth round draft pick, Kevin Kasper. Kasper didn’t last long with the Broncos and has journeyed to several other teams.

In 2002-03 I must have been blessed with good judgment as I began pulling for Reuben Droughns and Sam Brandon (both unknowns at the time) . Droughns was a special team guy and FB then, and I was thrilled to see him rise up and capture the starting RB job in 2005 — even though I was most fond of his blocking ability. Brandon was also a big special teams guy that has now become an important part of our defense.

Starting in 2003-04, Nate Jackson caught my eye and have enjoyed watching him stick with the team (even through his move from WR to TE). Also Cecil Sapp (I love cheering for the undrafted guys!) which has worked his way into the starting FB competition this year.

In 2005 it was QB Bradlee Van Pelt and our newest (and shortest) CB, Darrent Williams — what can I say, I also like to pull for the short guys! Darrent won the starting job his first year and BVP is now with the Houston Texans.

Last year it was undrafted RB Mike Bell, Safety Hamza Abdullah and WR David Kircus. Mike become a sensation last year by winning the backup job behind Tatum and Abdullah has had the honor of praise from players like Lynch and Ferguson, but Kircus didn’t get much playing time and remained mostly unnoticed last year.

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This year, in addtion to keeping a close eye on Jackson, Abdullah, Kircus and the others, RB Andre Hall and Safety Roderick Rogers are two players I can’t wait to see this preseason. Both players are college free agents (Andre Hall was picked up by Tampa last year after the draft and Rogers was picked up this year by Denver) and both have the potential to compete at the next level.

Andre Hall played one year of High School football. However, in that one year he led the county in rushing yardage with 1,742 yards and 26 touchdowns on 227 carries (7.7 avg). After a brief time at the Georgia Military Academy, he returned to Florida to attend USF. Hall left the Bulls as the all-time leading rusher (2,731 yrd) on 480 carries. Had had 24 TD’s and caught 44 passes for 470 yrds (10.7 yrds avg). He also scored three times on kickoff returns. Over all, he passed the 100 yard mark 12 times in 23 games including two +200 yard outings. Tampa Bay picked Hall up as a undrafted free agent on May 1, 2006, but was waived at the end of July. Chicago signed him in August but waived him on Sept. 1. Denver signed Hall Nov. 15th of last year and he spent the last half of 2006 on the practise squad.

While Travis Henry seems to have the starting tailback position locked up, look for him to push Mike Bell and the rest of the RB’s.

Roderick Rogers was a two-year captain at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, GA. There Rogers posted 261 tackles, 13 interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He then spent three years as a starter at Wisconsin, where he played 42 career games (26 starts), compiling 99 tackles (66 solo), one fumble recovery, five interceptions (138 yds.) and 21 passes defensed. He received second-team All-Big Ten Conference accolades in each of his final two seasons at Wisconsin. As a senior in 2006, Rogers started all 13 games and registered 36 tackles to go along with two interceptions.

I have lived in both Tampa, FL and Atlanta, GA — So I could claim both these guys as home-town favorites, but the truth is I didn’t know either one until they were added to the Broncos roster. I think the real reason I like them is that neither one was drafted, and both come from smaller schools. Pulling for the underdog is always fun. Heck, I think that’s part of being a Denver Broncos fan. We pull for the underdogs, because we WERE underdogs for so long!

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So, of all the mostly unknown players we’ve added to the roster this off-season who are you watching this year?



One comment

  1. […] My List of Unknown Broncos I’d Like to See Do Well […]

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