Royce Freeman, age 22
One area the Broncos have really struggled over the past few seasons is running the ball successfully on first downs.
There’s no doubt the Broncos’ analytics team considered that when the team prioritized Freeman in a loaded draft class at the running back position, as he led all draft eligible players in yards per carry on first down.
Freeman was called by John Elway on draft night and Elway told him he wants Freeman to be the team’s ‘bell-cow’ back, which means he could be counted on to eat up a lot of carries in his rookie season.
Freeman’s career at Oregon was insanely productive. He finished with 60 rushing touchdowns while averaging nearly six yards per carry, despite the fact that he carried the ball 947 times.
With so much usage in college, many worried that Freeman might not be able to have a successful transition to the NFL over the long haul because there was already so much wear and tear on his body.
The Broncos view Freeman’s experience as a positive, and feel he has a great feel for the game already.
This is a back with power, vision, and better speed than advertised. He could become the featured back the Broncos have been lacking.