Common paths connect SB backs

Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch and Denver running back Knowshon Moreno share a position and a path to Super Bowl XLVIII.

For starters, each was a No. 12 overall pick in the NFL draft. Lynch went to the Bills in that spot in 2007; Moreno went to the Broncos in that spot in 2009.

Initially, neither running back produced to his expectations. Each struggled with off-field issues.

In 2008, Lynch was involved in a 3:30 a.m. hit-and-run in Buffalo. Gun charges were brought against him a year later in California.

In 2012, Moreno was charged with DUI after being pulled over for speeding, all while operating a Bentley with license plates reading "SAUCED."

Buffalo grew so tired of Lynch that it went out and used a 2010 first-round pick on Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, whom it wanted to pair with running back Fred Jackson.

Denver grew so tired of Moreno that it went out and used a 2012 third-round pick on running back Ronnie Hillman and a 2013 second-round pick on running back Montee Ball.

After Buffalo drafted Spiller, it spent months searching for a trade partner for Lynch before it finally agreed in October 2010, just before the deadline, to deal him to Seattle for a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 fifth-round pick. Buffalo later used Seattle's 2011 fourth-round pick on offensive tackle Chris Hairston and the 2012 fifth-round pick on linebacker Tank Carder, neither of whom made anywhere close to the impact Lynch did in Seattle.

Denver was open to dealing Moreno, but never found many takers. Plus, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was in favor of keeping Moreno, who was more trustworthy than Denver's other young backs. So, unlike Lynch, Moreno was not sent packing.

But here they are after all their on-field disappointments and off-field issues, looming as central figures in deciding who wins and loses Super Bowl XLVIII. It just goes to show yet again that just because a team is willing to move on from a disappointing player doesn't automatically ensure that he will disappoint again. Sometimes items on the NFL's on-sale shelf are the best bargains out there.

One of Seattle's biggest building blocks, Lynch, came via Buffalo as a player the Bills were willing to discount. One of Denver's most important players, Moreno, is in place only because the Broncos were stuck with him.

Now, two former 12th overall picks are central figures in their teams' runs through the postseason and to Super Bowl XLVIII.

Unsung coaching contributions: Two of the NFL's top offensive line coaches are men who have been connected through the years.

One of the least talked about yet most significant storylines about Super Bowl XLVIII will be the overlap between Broncos offensive line consultant Alex Gibbs and Seahawks offensive line and assistant head coach Tom Cable, two of the absolute best at what they do.

The two are linked by way more than their meeting in Super Bowl XLVIII. Gibbs held the title Cable now does, as Seattle's assistant head coach and offensive line coach, in 2010, before he abruptly announced his retirement one week before the start of the 2010 regular season.

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