Many figured that Donald Brown would replace Joseph Addai at some point last year the way Addai replaced Dominic Rhodes many years ago; Brown’s injuries prevented that from even being an option. He set a season high with 14 carries in Week Three, but didn’t reach double digits again until Week 16 when the Colts basically called it a season.
To say it was a disappointing season for Brown would be a major understatement. He was expected to cut into Joseph Addai’s production and only managed 450 total yards (289 rushing) and 3 TDs. That’s not to say he can’t have a mulligan. In fact, I expect a much better 2010 from Donald Brown.
Addai had the lion’s share of the carries last year, but did it at a 3.8 ypc clip. With a 3.5 ypc in 2008, and a 4.1 ypc in 2007, Addai clearly isn’t a game-breaker. Meanwhile, Donald Brown has the ability to take on the distance at any time. Addai is also not a workhorse back: His high game last year was 79 rushing yards and he only topped 70 one other time, meaning Brown could see a lot more work in the ground game.
Where Addai has a clear edge is in pass protection and short yardage situations. While Brown has good enough size (5’10″, 210) to get the tough yards if needed, failing to pick up the blitz will keep Brown from topping 100 carries in 2010.
The Colts understand that you need at least two good backs to make a playoff run. They want to ensure that Addai has space in the tank for the playoffs. I simply can’t imagine that Brown won’t get at least ten touches a game. If he does, he has the ability to serve as a decent flex start. If Addai were to miss any games with an injury, Brown could put up top 15 numbers. Addai suffered a concussion in the Colts’ third preseason game; he is expected to be ready for the season opener, but only time will tell. If he gets his bell rung during the season, Brown could step in and get a few spot starts.
Donald Brown is one of the best handcuffs and represents a good value with an ADP of 103 (41st overall RB) according to Mock Draft Central. I actually have him slightly higher (click to see my RB rankings). He has a ton of upside for a ninth round pick and makes a solid RB4.
What are your thoughts on Donald Brown?
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