The expectations for Denver Broncos rookie running back Royce Freeman are reaching new heights as we progress through the offseason…
The Denver Broncos used the 71st overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft on Oregon Ducks running back Royce Freeman, and since his name was called, expectations have done nothing but soar.
When the Broncos drafted Freeman, John Elway described him as a ‘bell-cow’ even when he was on the phone during the draft.
Elway said to Freeman that he wanted him to be ‘that guy’ for the Broncos.
What does this mean?
What it means leading into training camp is a lot of hype for a rookie running back entering a great situation.
Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com had a great piece on Freeman where he noted that the Broncos have not had a running back top 250 carries in a season since 2004 (Reuben Droughns).
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That’s absolutely astounding considering some of the very successful rushing attacks the Broncos have had since 2004, including 2005 when there were two backs with over 1,000 rushing yards and 2011 when they led the NFL in rushing yards.
Will Freeman eat up 250 or more carries? That remains to be seen, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility given his production at Oregon.
While some felt like Freeman’s usage in college was cause for concern about his ability to hold up at the NFL level, he saw it a completely different way. He felt like the 1,026 touches in four years (oddly an average just over 250 per season) proved his durability.
That’s one way to look at it.
Freeman’s durability will be key for the Broncos as Elway also classified his banging style of play as something the team has not had for a while.
Freeman, of course, understands the reputation he has as a big running back but he’s not limited to banging between the tackles. The Broncos should not pigeon-hole him into that role either. Freeman showed at the 2018 Scouting Combine that athletically, he is much more than just a banger between the tackles.
Freeman has excellent feet, vision, and pass-catching ability to go along with his ability to plow through tacklers.
Some are predicting he will be this year’s ‘Kareem Hunt’, and everyone knows the impact he had on the Kansas City Chiefs in his rookie season.
If Freeman can come anywhere close to that, the Broncos’ offense should be among the best in the NFL.