CJ Anderson was a success story with the Denver Broncos.
An undrafted free agent productive during his five years in Denver, Anderson had the overtime touchdown run in the snow to beat the New England Patriots. He capped off a Super Bowl 50 victory with a touchdown plunge. He finished his Broncos career with a 1,000-yard season.
Plenty of NFL teams would take that production from an undrafted player.
Two things got in the way of Broncos Country showering unconditional love on Anderson.
One, while Anderson was a solid rusher, there was always the sense Denver could be doing better at the running back position.
Two, C.J. was honest.
He would talk about his talents and capabilities, but then he would get hurt. Or, he wouldn’t appear to be in the best of shape.
That tended to aggravate Broncos’ fans in a way that kept him from being totally embraced.
Anderson’s release leaves the Broncos with just Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson at running back.
Booker just doesn’t do it for me. I was always befuddled as to why national TV broadcasters would continue to talk up Booker, knowing they were getting insight directly from head coach Vance Joseph.
What do the Broncos see in him?
As for Henderson, he was everyone’s training camp darling. But Denver kept him in mothballs until the final week of the season.
But that didn’t bug me nearly as much as the reluctance to use Jamaal Charles.
The Broncos need to upgrade its running backs room.
With that said, they don’t need to go crazy.
Look at the last few Super Bowl teams. Philadelphia, Atlanta, and New England have all won big using a stable of running backs.
The key is to find guys who fill different roles and design an offense that utilizes their talents.
You don’t need a so-called stud.
You know where I’m going with this; I would not be in the Saquon Barkley sweepstakes.
I don’t see any direct link whatsoever between taking a running back that high and him being the difference in that offense being great or not.
Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette … they’re all good backs. But have they greatly transformed their teams?
I say the jury is still out on that.
Until proven otherwise, I would not over-invest in a running back, especially with this year’s class of running backs being so deep.
I’m still hoping against hope the Broncos don’t take a quarterback at No. 5.
It’s kind of pathetic how the “pick a QB” crowd is trying to push its agenda. They can’t tell you who is the answer. Instead, they just say take a quarterback, any quarterback.
You can use whatever combination you want for Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, and Sam Darnold. Several combinations allow for a different quarterback to be available to the Broncos at No. 5.
No matter who it is, the “pick a quarterback” cult would take that guy — just because.
If that isn’t the height of lunacy, I don’t know what is.
It’s fun to try to read John Elway’s motivation in all of this.
Does he follow the herd mentality that if you don’t have a quarterback you have no choice but to draft one and hope? Or is he grinning at all of the absurdity, knowing he can pick off really good football players while other teams lose their minds?
I’d like to think Elway wouldn’t fall for the bait.
He panicked once and did the obvious thing in moving up to take Paxton Lynch despite what had to be some misgivings with how the quarterback’s first two NFL seasons have gone.
Would he do that again? With the fifth-overall pick?
On the other hand, he did say he wasn’t afraid to keep swinging and missing when it comes to QBs.
Does Elway look at his long-term contract as a safety net that allows him to put off picking a quarterback he doesn’t believe in, knowing he has a decent bridge guy in Case Keenum?
Is he starting to sweat his legacy as a general manager — which could be linked to finding the Broncos next star quarterback — and he just can’t pass on one of these guys who could turn out to be a star?
Don’t take the bait, John. Don’t follow the herd. Don’t panic. You’re “The Duke.”
Do the smart thing and draft a guy who will make an immediate and long-term impact.