Nov 16, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Brennan Clay (24) runs the ball while being pursued by Iowa State cyclones Jansen Watson (2) in the second half at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Could the Denver Broncos have two undrafted rookies make the roster at the running back position this year?
As unlikely as it sounds, that’s exactly what was predicted to happen by ESPN.com Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold, who pegs Brennan Clay and Juwan Thompson as the Broncos’ third and fourth running backs behind Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman.
This is shocking to read for a couple of reasons.
1. Most people expect an undrafted player to make the Broncos’ final roster. What’s unexpected or shocking is that most feel like it will be former Colorado State star Kapri Bibbs, who rushed for 31 touchdowns last season.
2. This roster projection leaves off C.J. Anderson, who many think could be the #2 back in Denver this year after making the team as an undrafted free agent a year ago.
In evaluating Clay and Thompson as prospects, one thing stood out about both of them — versatility. Clay proved in his career at Oklahoma that he’s a really strong all-around back and Thompson proved he could be effective in all three phases of the game.
In fact, I felt like Thompson was my favorite back I looked at because of the toughness he runs with, the fact that he played linebacker when called upon at Duke, as well as the fact that he is known by his coaches as one of the best special teams players they’ve coached.
This is a really intriguing prediction, and has some substance based on the fact that Legwold is connected and was able to see these guys up close. In the end, I think there were a lot of surprises for me on this roster prediction. I am not sure the Broncos will keep three quarterbacks, and I’m also concerned about not having a true kick/punt returner.
Either way, it’s exciting that the Broncos will have this strong of competition at running back. It will make pre-season games that much more fun to watch. What are your predictions about this year’s group of running backs?