A versatile athlete is usually a term categorized for an athlete, but is only applied to the different abilities he brings to the game. With the improved quality of players and depth on most franchises, the ratio of dual athletes has dwindled down to almost nothing on the professional level. In the high school and college game there are still plenty of athletes that play on defense and offense, but Champ Bailey is trying to bring a new element to the game next season.
The Denver Broncos offense already has a great dynamic duo, with the young up and coming receiver in Ashley Lelie and veteran Rod Smith. Champ Bailey has said many times that he?d like to get a shot at wide receiver again, and looks like his wish will finally be granted. The Broncos are currently working on some plays and different packages for him to come into the game in. Obviously he would probably only get eight to ten offensive plays a game. Still his decoy factor and guarding him brings up a very tough challenge for opposing defenses.
Here is an athlete that basically verbally committed to Georgia as an eighth grader. He possesses some of the rawest skills with his size and speed. Bailey can change direction and speed at the drop of a dime, and has incredible recovery speed. He can be left on an island on one side of the field, and play more like a safety than a cornerback because of his speed. Mike Shanahan has never been the type to make a blockbuster trade, but he did just that to acquire Bailey. He didn?t have a spectacular season last year, but it was enough for another Pro Bowl selection.
Troy Brown showed last year that a receiver can switch to a defensive back and be effective. Well, that was acceptable because the Patriots secondary was depleted and Brown was a bench warmer as a receiver. He volunteered to help his team, and it paid off. Bailey though will be playing a 100 percent on defense, and the endurance factor would come to attest as a receiver. Deion Sanders was able to do it for a minimal amount of years as a Cowboy, but never really flourished in the position like he was hyped up to do.
With the tightness of the AFC, the Broncos are going to need every advantage they can get. The Chargers, Raiders, and Chiefs are all solid teams that will be hard to knock out the picture until late in the season. Bailey has a fat contract, and if he can perform well the Broncos may want to add an extra incentive for a receiver bonus. His natural ability shouldn?t hurt his performance as a cornerback, but the Broncos will need to address the third receiver position regardless if Bailey is going to play receiver. The Broncos don?t have anyone respectable behind Lelie and Smith, and if one gets hurt could pose huge problems for Jake Plummer and Mike Shanahan?s offense. Look for the Broncos to draft a young receiver or two, and keep the talks of Bailey playing at receiver low until training camp.