NFL Draft 2009 Review: RB Donald Brown

Running back Donald Brown is potentially the greatest NFL player ever to come out of the University of Connecticut.  How's that for hype, huh?

Brown is a smallish 5'10", 210 lb back who has been compared to Willie Parker and Tiki Barber.  Scouts say he has good blocking skills and can catch the ball out of the backfield.   Sounds good.

You might think the presence of Joseph Addai is a problem for Brown.  Poor rookie, poor first round pick, having to spend time on the bench!

Wrong.

Addai battled injuries last season (he only started 12 games) and even when he was on the field, his performance was far below what we've come to expect.  His 3.5 yds per carry average was by far the worst of his career.  He finished ahead of "backup" Dominic Rhodes by only 3 carries and 6 yards, and had one fewer rushing touchdown.  Addai had a terrible season and with Rhodes now in Buffalo, the Colts needed somebody to replace (uh, I mean "assist") Addai.  Brown is that somebody.

Addai is expected to come back healthy this year and as long as he does, he's still the Colts' RB1.  However, Brown will see plenty of work and should see close to 1000 combined rushing and receiving yards this year.   This season, Brown will be sharing the ball.

Long term though, Donald Brown is the future star RB of the Indianapolis Colts.  Joseph Addai's time in Indiana is winding down.  How do I know?  Because the Colts have made a habit of dumping off succesful running backs before they wear out.

In 1999, Marshall Faulk was coming off a 1319 rushing yard season, with a 1000+ season the year before that.  They got rid of Faulk and drafted Edgerrin James.

In 2005, Edgerrin James had his second consecutive 1500+ rushing yard season.  They got rid of James and drafted Joseph Addai.

Last season was only the fourth time IN FIFTEEN SEASONS the Colts didn't have a 1000 yd rusher. The Colts know what they're doing.  They're easing Brown into the mix this time, but don't doubt that he will be taking over.  

He could be a great sleeper if Addai gets hurt again, or a useful fill-in if Addai doesn't.  If your league allows you to keep players, find a way to get Brown on your roster.

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