Too Much To Tweet: Thoughts on Mario Fannin

‎‏Sometimes 140 characters aren’t enough. Today, I’ll use the extra space to talk about Mario Fannin.

  • @feergd: what do u think of mario fannin? is he being considered for the coming season?

Mario Fannin hasn’t been forgotten by those whose opinions matter at Dove Valley.

He was the fastest running back on the field at training camp last year, and the raw speed of the Auburn product intrigued the team enough to where Fannin’s torn anterior cruciate ligament didn’t lead them to to write an injury settlement and send him on his way.

But being “intrigued” and having Fannin foremost in their plans are two different matters entirely for the Broncos’ brass.

Mario Fannin

Mario Fannin shone brightly, but briefly, at training camp last year. (PHOTO: MAXDENVER.COM)

Fannin will have a chance to show how far he has recovered from his torn ACL in organized team activities, which begin next month, and if he shows any flashes of brilliance as he did during the first week of training camp last year, then he’ll be in the running back group when camp opens in late July.

But relying upon an undrafted runner coming off a severe injury — even one who has a reputed 4.37-second speed in the 40-yard dash with a 231-pound frame — is unwise. Fannin was infrequently an every-down back at Auburn; his career highs there were 448 rushing yards in 2007 and 698 yards from scrimmage in 2009 and he never touched the football more than 102 times in a season.

Nevertheless, his combination of size and speed make him worthy of close examination.

He’ll get a chance to earn notice in the coming months.  If he emerges, he’s a nice bonus and could create a pleasant problem of having too many running backs of value. But don’t expect him to push for significant playing time beyond the preseason unless there’s a tsunami of injuries or the Broncos unexpectedly fail to bolster the running back group in the draft.

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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on NFL.com when the site was managed by ESPN.com. He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began MaxDenver.com in 2010 and now contributes to CBSSports.com, The Sporting News and The New York Times.
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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for this. He has really been sitting in the back of my mind as a guy who could be Knowshon Plus. He’s got soft hands and one hopes he would be harder to take down than Moreno. Of course, Jeremiah Johnson made a decent case for himself last year so it will certainly be an interesting camp, watching the battle for the last RB spot.

  2. Kind of negative….you never know in the NFL….Arian Foster anyone?

    • It’s not negative, it’s realistic. Arian Foster is the exception. With any undrafted running back, you’ve got about a one-in-10 chance of being even a decent contributor; to be at Foster’s level, it’s about one-in-40. It would be completely irresponsible to trust odds such as those.

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