Denver Broncos 5 best one-year wonders in team history
Denver Broncos one-year wonder no. 4: Reuben Droughns, RB (2004)
During the Mike Shanahan era, the Denver Broncos were seemingly able to crank out a different 1,000-yard rusher every season.
There’s plenty of proof of that, too.
From 2003-2006, the Broncos had four different 1,000-yard rushers:
- Clinton Portis, 2003
- Reuben Droughns, 2004
- Mike Anderson, 2005
- Tatum Bell, 2006
As a matter of fact, they nearly had two 1,000-yard rushers in the 2005 season, one of the best years the Denver Broncos have had as a franchise without winning the Super Bowl.
But the focus of this particular segment is Reuben Droughns, who wasn’t a “nobody” by any means.
He was the 81st overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions but didn’t play until the 2001 season.
The Lions let him go after 2001 and the Broncos scooped him up in 2002 and he rode the bench for a couple of seasons before getting his shot in 2004.
It’s not often you see a running back have a breakout season as a fifth-year pro. It’s even less frequent that you see someone who was supposed to be a fullback have that kind of breakout season.
Droughns’ key stats from 2004:
- 1,240 yards
- 4.5 yards per carry
- 6 rushing touchdowns
- 32 receptions
- 2 receiving touchdowns
- 344 kickoff return yards
Droughns was extremely impressive in the 2004 season, but the Denver Broncos knew they could crank out 1,000-yard backs with no problem, so he wasn’t guaranteed the starting job in 2005.
He asked for and was granted a trade to the Cleveland Browns which brought a couple of needed defensive linemen to the Denver Broncos, including Ebenezer Ekuban.
There’s a name for you.
Droughns was actually really good for a bit with the Browns and wound up winning a Super Bowl as a reserve with the New York Giants a few years later.