By Chad Jensen
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (247Sports)– Not only did Phillip Lindsay go undrafted this past spring, he wasn’t even invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. His omission from both events is a blight on NFL cannon.
The Phillip Lindsay story is a case in point as to the hit-and-miss nature of the draft. Teams try to whittle it down to a science, but sometimes scouts and general managers get it wrong.
The Denver Broncos didn’t totally ‘miss’ on Lindsay. GM John Elway wasn’t ignorant of Lindsay, or unaware of his pre-draft resume.
But the Broncos would be lying to you if they said the team had any inkling that Lindsay would be this good this fast. If any NFL team, let alone the Broncos, had that realization, the diminutive running back wouldn’t have gotten past the first round.
The Broncos did scout Lindsay, obviously. He played in their own backyard at Colorado, and the team made it a point to attend his Pro Day and make him a priority college free-agent signing.
One question on the minds of some in the media was whether the Broncos at any point actually considering spending one if their 10 draft picks on Lindsay. For example, Denver drafted Arkansas RB David Williams in the seventh round, who didn’t even make the final roster.
“I can’t recall that far back, but I knew he was a guy that we did some work,” head coach Vance Joseph said on Friday ahead of Week 12. “We want to the Pro Day—myself, John [Elway] and [Director of Player Personnel] Matt [Russell]—so we watched him run a 4.4 [second 40-yard dash].”
Its not like Lindsay didn’t produce in college — he did. In his final two years at CU, Lindsay totaled more than 3,000 yards of offense, and 32 touchdowns.
One of the reasons Denver likely stayed its hand on Lindsay during the draft, besides not realizing how good he truly was, has to do with demand. Scouts talk. Buzz circulates pre-draft, and the Broncos didn’t pick up any word through the grapevine on Lindsay, meaning they expected they’d get a shot at him afterwards.
We know after the draft, there were a small handful of teams that courted Lindsay as a CFA, including the Baltimore Ravens, but he ultimately chose to stay in Colorado. The Broncos were lucky Lindsay grew up a fan of the Orange and Blue.
“He was obviously a great player in college,” Joseph said. “I can’t recall about the draft day, but he was a guy that we did some work on. Obviously, it’s Week 12 and it’s not a fluke. He’s a really good player. He’s a durable player and he makes plays every week. We’re lucky to have him—very lucky.”
The Broncos are extremely fortunate to have Lindsay. Sometimes its better to be lucky than good.
The truth is, all 32 NFL teams missed on Lindsay. And yet, he’s pushing for Offensive Rookie of the Year, going against draft ‘Giants’, like No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley.
If Lindsay ends up winning the OPoY, it’ll be a coup. Because it will gall the NFL bitterly to hand the coveted award to a player the league didn’t even want.
With with 857 total yards from scrimmage and six combined touchdowns, Lindsay has already set and broken Broncos rookie records. At this point, it doesn’t matter why the Broncos didn’t draft him.
All that matters is that he’s a Bronco. There’s absolutely no reason to look this particular gift-horse in the mouth.