And with the 148th pick overall in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select...Ryan Torain? Yes, Ryan Torain, the best running back you have never seen.
The Broncos' rookie running back has not played a game since Oct. 13, 2007 when he was with Arizona State University. This 6'1", 225-pound back has 4.51 speed/power combo with big-play potential.
Rushing for 1,229 yards on 223 attempts (a 5.5 average) and seven touchdowns as a junior, Torain earned All-Pac-10 Second Team honors in only eight starts. Adding 18 receptions for 205 yards (an 11.4 average) and three touchdowns put him at 1,434 all-purpose yards (an average of 110.3 per game).
He started the first six games of his senior season before a season-ending foot injury. Yet he still had 553 yards on 110 carries (a 5.0 average) and five touchdowns.
After healing from his foot injury just in time for the NFL combine in February, Denver coach Mike Shanahan liked what he saw. Given Denver's traditional success with middle-round running backs, Shanahan selected Torain in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.
In early August, during training camp, Torain was in contention of becoming the starting back. That is, until he dislocated his left elbow and damaged ligaments.
At that point, the coaches were so impressed with their rookie tailback that the coaching staff kept Torain on the 53-man roster because they believed, despite surgery, he could return with a little more than half the season remaining and make some impact. Head Coach Mike Shanahan even offered up a comparison to Terrell Davis.
With the backfield of Denver dealing with injuries, Torain is now the healthiest running back on the team. Selvin Young, the Broncos' leading rusher last year, has missed the last two games due to a groin injury. Michael Pittman, the current starter, has been dealing with a neck and rib soreness.
As a result, the Broncos have not scored a rushing touchdown in the past four games.
While Torain is not scheduled to start, he will be seeing his first game action this Sunday, against the Miami Dolphins. From there, it's only a matter of time before you see Ryan Torain.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!