This is the second volume of my Rookie Stunner series. In volume one, I touched on Brown’s college teammate Cadillac Williams. Brown was the higher pick, and he was better pro despite getting out-touched and outgained by Williams as a rookie.
Ronnie Brown | Rookie Numbers – 207/907/4 | 4.4 YPA/60.5 YPG/13.8 APG | 32 rec 232 yards 1 TD in 15 games
Brown was the second overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft. The Miami Dolphins believed they had a true workhorse in the six foot 233 pound Auburn product. His rookie totals were encouraging as Brown accounted for 48% of team’s rushing yards. Brown was also in a competition for touches with Ricky Williams. That Miami squad went 9-7 under Nick Saban with Gus Frerotte at Quarterback.
Looking at the game logs, you will notice Brown struggled mightily down the stretch. This happened despite his team winning five straight during his last five active games. Also, just two 100-yard efforts and four TDs were not soothing to our Fantasy souls.
Brown was extremely impressive in the passing game. Despite just averaging 7.5 YPC his 32 receptions on 47 targets he showed his tenacity as a reliable dump off option. That was a consistent theme throughout the meat of Brown’s career, when healthy.
To call Brown’s rookie season, ”a stunner” is a bit of a stretch. My ”soft” criteria for this has always been if the RB gained 1,200 scrimmage yards during his first season. Brown’s rookie total was 1,139 yards, so close enough. Also, don’t forget fellow high first round RBs Darren McFadden and C.J. Spiller gained under 800 and under 500 scrimmage yards (as rookies) respectfully.
Year two saw Brown break the 1,000-yard mark for the first and only time during his decade in the league. He also had a career high in touches (274) and attempts per game (18.5). This happened with his battery mate (Williams) being suspended for the season.
Brown’s third season was a fierce roll-coaster of highs and lows. He started camp with 10 extra pounds on his frame. That forced him to hunker down and train hard. He started the season leaner and stronger than ever, unfortunately, a week seven knee injury forced to miss the rest of the season. Brown had already rushed for 602 yards through those seven weeks. In just seven games recorded 39 receptions which were the second highest seasonal total of his career. What was even more astonishing were his 389 receiving yards. That total was a seasonal career high. At the time of the injury, Brown was the league leader in yards from scrimmage.
He bounced back in year four as he chugged for a respectable 916 yards in 214 carries (4.3 YPA). Brown also found himself end zone dancing a career-high 10 times. He made the Pro Bowl for the only time in his career. This was one of four seasons where Brown appeared in all 16 games. It should be noted Brown appeared in all 16 games just twice as his team’s starter/RB1.
It was a gradual downhill slide from there for Brown. His fifth season was cut short by a foot injury. He bounced back to play in 16 games during his sixth and final season in Miami at age 29. He handled 233 touches and gained 976 yards from scrimmage.
Brown walked via free agency as the Dolphins dropped their coins into the 26-year old Reggie Bush. Brown signed a one-year with Philadelphia. Despite being dressed for all 16 games, he was given just 42 total carries and only two targets.
Brown saw a slight resurgence the following season a member of the San Diego Chargers. He even set a career high in receptions with 49 during the 2012 season. The following year with the Chargers, Brown became an afterthought. He received just 53 touches despite being available for the entire 16 game slate.
Brown’s career ended the following season. He had a brief three-game stint with the Houston Texans. He also appeared in seven more games with the Chargers. The reunion was made possible after Brown was released by Houston and San Diego had lost their top three RBs to injury. His impact was minimal. The 33-year old played his last game on 12/20/14 despite being available for the season finale on December 28.