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Published on 07/30/2008 at Wed Jul 30 09:30.
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Anthony Alridge

Brian Westbrook. Philadelphia Eagles running back. 5’8″, 200 lbs. 9,512 all-purpose yards in college, an all-time NCAA record. In six years in the NFL, Westbrook has acquired 9,002 all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving, and punt/kickoff returns).

Warrick Dunn. Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back. 5’9″, 180 lbs. 3,959 rushing yards stands as an FSU record, one of many Dunn still holds. In eleven years in the NFL, Dunn has acquired 14,548 all-purpose yards.

Anthony Alridge. Denver Broncos undrafted rookie running back. 5’9″, 185 lbs. 4,438 all-purpose yards in college, holding the University of Houston record for average yards per play with 9.4. Rushed for 10.1 yards per carry as a junior, leading the nation in that category.

The overall production in college doesn’t quite compare to Westbrook or Dunn, but Anthony “Quick 6″ Alridge’s impressive production in limited work at Houston has earned him quite a buzz. His performance at Denver Broncos training camp has only increased that buzz – Alridge has looked very good in camp, breaking off long runs to the outside and burning defenders on several occasions.

Alridge once was considered an almost-certain practice squadder for the Broncos – with a lot of depth and competition at running back, Alridge’s uphill battle to make the roster seemed too tall a task for a 5’8″ undrafted rookie. Now that camp has gotten underway, it appears the Broncos have a tough decision to make: lock him up with a roster spot, or risk placing him on that practice squad, where any other NFL team can pluck him off.

Alridge’s main detractor has always been his small size, but if he follows the bath of Philly’s Westbrook (special teams work as a punt and kickoff returner for the first few years, before showing his value on offense), Alridge has a real shot to become a star in this league. By all accounts, his work ethic and dedication are second to none, attributes only validated by the work he put during the offseason to gain between 10 and 20 lbs.

And if similar-in-size Westbrook and Dunn can have such productive NFL careers, why couldn’t Alrdige?

I’ll admit Alrdige’s small size has caused me to overlook his potential. But I’ve talked to some people who know him from the University of Houston, and all I keep hearing is how special he is – and how special he could be at the pro level. A dynamic back with good hands and breakaway speed doesn’t come around so often; the Broncos have a tough choice to make when it comes time to fill the last of their 53 roster spots.

  • azbronco7

    ill keep my fingers crossed! i think hell be just a returner this year though if he makes the team

  • http://www.broncomadness.com Garret Barnes

    Can’t we just be happy with Selvin as our starter. I don’t get why everybody is obsessed with finding a new RB. Let’s stick with Young and see what happens.

  • HogBlog

    Aldrige would NOT be a starting RB…they’re talking about a special downs (Factor Back). His presence in the lineup along w/Young, Hillis, Marhshall, Colbert, Sheffler, Stokely might just get your attention. Can you say “Reverse” or “Double Reverse” or “Screen Pass”.

  • Roy

    He would be a great change of pace to spell Young. Maybe a second down guy.

  • Myerda00

    Young starts, Hall is change of pace, Hillis/Pittman are power.
    IMO Alridge makes team as a returner, because if on PS, he would be gone.

  • adam

    I’m with Kyle, I’ve been researching this guy since before the draft…could be huge. And I love that he’s a very hard worker.

  • Richard

    If there’s a place for this kid, and i’m beginning to think so, say goodbye to Sapp.

  • bob

    every year no one thinks the undrafted RB will make the team and last years undrafted RB will of course start
    i hve already bet he makes the cut and gets to start one game

  • adam

    Interesting. It sure didn’t seem like the Broncos wanted either Sapp or Lynch all that much. If they get cut at the 53 man mark, do the Broncos still have to pay them their salary?

  • Matt

    Hey, I all for Young and Torain, but if this kid is making plays, I’m glad he’s on our team!! I’m glad to hear he is having a good camp…along with Royal….I like that we are getting some more weapons!!

  • Jason

    adam,
    Salary in the NFL is paid out on a per game basis. If you are cut or suspended you only get paid for the games you are on the roster for. They do get to keep the signing bonus and other roster bonuses already paid.

  • adam

    Thanks Jason. That said, I’m guessing Sapp and Lynch have all the motivation they need to make the roster…should be a very interesting preseason.

  • Jose

    Fellows, we all know how much Coach Shanny loved to use Rod Smith and B. Marshall on those reverses. Imagine using Quick6 on those trick plays? I see this kid making the roster without a doubt! I’m tired of many people hating on height. Elvis is 5’11, Stockley is 5’10, D Williams rest his soul, 5’8. This is a MAN’S Game, PERIOD! If you got the heart, the gutts and a mean streak, shoot, your a football player. I’m rooting for you Anthony, prove all those haters wrong!

  • broncosmang

    No one is trying to supplant Young at this point, but if he continues to improve, i have a hard time seeing the Broncos let him go. There are too few true playmakers in this league and Aldrige has the makings. Special teams, 3rd down, and hey let’s not forget he played receiver quite a bit a Houston as well.

  • http://www.broncotalk.net scott

    Anybody have an idea how many RB/FB’s they are looking to keep on board when the rosters go to 53?

  • http://www.search-this.com mark

    “Can you say “Reverse” or “Double Reverse” or “Screen Pass”.”
    The Broncos run a screen pass?! Good one!!

  • Joe Rodriguez

    I love some of this new, young talent coming the way of the Broncos. Aldridge and Hillis are both known for catching balls out of the backfield. Torain will be competing with another youngster, Selvin, for playing time. Eddie Royal appears to be the real deal. Can you imagine how happy Cutler must be. Me too.

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