Broncos Success Hinges On The Two Ryan's

Dan AdamsCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2009

KANSAS CITY - SEPTEMBER 28: Ryan Harris #74 of the Denver Broncos walks down the tunnel before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 28, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 33-19.  (Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Ryan Harris and Ryan Clady both began starting for the Denver Broncos under Mike Shanahan last season.  Without much national attention, the duo was the best in the NFL when it comes to allowing the least amount of sacks. The combo gave up a combined three sacks during the entire 16 game regular season (0.5 Clady, 2.5 Harris).

With new head coach Josh McDaniels taking over in the tumultuous offseason, their previous success was far overlooked coming into this season. After a 6-0 start, Ryan Harris was injured in the Broncos loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He dislocated two toes in his right foot and has been sidelined ever since. He will return this week when the Broncos travel to Kansas City for an important divisional battle.

2009 has been a confirmation of success for the highly sought after offensive tackle from Boise State, Ryan Clady. The 12th draft pick for the Broncos in 2008, Clady has lived up to all the expectations. He has allowed only 2.5 sacks through 11 complete games this season. He has a much less mobile quarterback in Kyle Orton under center this season, and has continued to dominate Orton's blindside.

Ryan Harris, a much less known commodity from Notre Dame was drafted as the sixth pick in the third round in the 2007 NFL Draft. He did not start a game in his rookie season, but the word was out that he was thought of highly within the Broncos organization and he is proving it in year three.

In seven starts this season, Harris has allowed only one sack. A top recruit out of Cretin-Derham Hall High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he could have been a much higher selection in the NFL Draft had the Fighting Irish had more success in his four years there.

Now proven commodities in the NFL, the Denver Broncos have solidified the bookends on the very important offensive line of McDaniels' offense. The value of two great tackles is one of the most overlooked aspects in offensive passing games. It is going to a crucial part of the the Broncos long term success and for their aspirations to play in the Super Bowl this season.