Ronnie Hillman in line for big role, not the chopping block


There have been plenty of questions about Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman in recent years. Last offseason, many questioned whether or not he would even make the team after two underwhelming years to start his Denver Broncos career.

When he replaced Montee Ball last season due to injury, many cringed at the thought of Hillman carrying the ball, thanks to his infamous fumble in a game against Andrew Luck and the Colts in 2013. That fumble sent Broncos fans over the edge when it came to Hillman, and apparently the coaches didn’t like it either.

Hillman spent the rest of the season in the doghouse, and many felt like we would never see him in a Broncos uniform again. Entering the 2014 offseason, Hillman seemingly had nothing to lose with a second chance from the Broncos. It was either work your tail off and make the team, or he’d be cut loose and probably get another shot with some team at the bottom of the waiver order, since he had two years left on a team-friendly rookie contract.

Hillman got himself on the 53-man roster, and came in early in the season to replace Montee Ball where he had two games with over 100 yards rushing and proved to be effective not only as a runner but also a receiver and pass protector.

In the Broncos’ first pre-season game against the Seahawks, it was Hillman showing the best burst and vision among Broncos running backs. He gained big chunks of yards on his way to an 8 carry, 66 yard line along with an 11 yard catch. One pre-season game doesn’t determine how Hillman is going to play this entire season, but it’s clear that he’s the Broncos’ best speed weapon at the RB position and with one year remaining on his rookie contract, the team has nothing to gain by letting him go.

Hillman, by all accounts, is playing better than Ball at least in game situations, so the Broncos have no good reason to let him go. So many, as they did last year, want to see the Broncos get rid of one of Ball or Hillman, which doesn’t really make any sense to me. If you have multiple players on solid rookie contracts, why would you let one of them go for nothing, or even for a late-round draft pick?

The Broncos have much more to gain from keeping Hillman, and not just keeping him, but giving him a significant role to play.

Next: Ty Sambrailo faces big time test vs. J.J. Watt & Co.