There are some parallels between the Broncos greatest running back of all time, and a guy who is simply scratching just to make the 2012 Broncos 53-man roster.
Running back Xavier Omon crashed onto the radar screen Thursday when he had 7 carries for 36 yards and 1 touchdown.
“I’m not used to all these cameras in front of my face, but it’s been good,” Omon said following Tuesday’s practice. “I’m having fun. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride.”
Terrell Davis was in a similar place in 1995 when he was taken in the 6th round (196th overall) of the draft out of Long Beach State. The rest, as they say, is history. Davis went on to make the Pro Bowl three times, he won two Super Bowls, he was the league’s MVP and the Super Bowl MVP in 1998, and he is the Broncos all-time leader in rushing yards with 7,607 yards during his eight year career.
“Terrell Davis, I have the most respect for him,” Omon said. “He used to be my favorite running back when I was younger. Until I got older, I didn’t realize what he had to go through…He didn’t come out here and just get the starting job…I’m definitely trying to follow in his footsteps and hopefully it all works out for me.”
Davis didn’t see much playing time in training camp during his rookie year until he made a big play on special teams during the Broncos second preseason game. He was a long-shot to make the roster.
That’s where Omon’s story comes in. Like Davis, Omon was selected in the sixth round (179th overall) of the draft in 2008 out of Northwest Missouri State. He had 1,575 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns his freshman year of college, and he finished with over 7,000 yards during his collegiate career.
He played his first two seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and he’s spent time on the practice squad with the Broncos, Browns, 49ers, and Jets. His practice squad days are over, however.
The Broncos already have some established runners on the roster with Willis McGahee, Lance Ball, and Knowshon Moreno. Ronnie Hillman was the team’s third-round pick in this year’s draft, and Jeremiah Johnson sits a notch higher than Omon on the depth chart. That puts Omon at No. 6 in line.
“When you look around, that’s when you start missing out on your opportunities,” Omon said of the backs that are already there. “I just do what I can, work as hard as I can, come prepared everyday, and give it my best.”
Some more performances like the one he had Thursday will certainly slingshot him up the depth chart. He’s already becoming a fan favorite and after leading the team in rushing the other night, he can become a coach’s favorite as well.
“Everybody thinks that this is just a passing offense because of Peyton, but Peyton needs a running back just as much as any other quarterback does,” Omon stated.
Omon is just trying to be that back.