Don’t forget about Royce Freeman for the Broncos in 2019
How good was Phillip Lindsay in his rookie season? He was so good, many are forgetting about fellow rookie Royce Freeman.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay was really good in his rookie season with the team, but Royce Freeman shouldn’t be written off.
Freeman was the Broncos’ top pick in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Oregon. Like Lindsay, Freeman enjoyed multiple highly successful seasons in the Pac 12 but was a more highly touted prospect because of his size.
Freeman came to Denver looking to seize the top running back spot right away, and that’s just what he did. He beat out everyone for the top spot on Denver’s depth chart at running back, including Lindsay at the time, and got off to a hot start in his pro career.
Freeman was instrumental in the Broncos’ week one win over the Seattle Seahawks, grinding out a bunch of tough yards at the end of the game to help bleed out the clock.
He had a number of highlight-reel runs throughout his rookie season, where he carried the ball 130 times for 521 yards and five touchdowns.
While Lindsay has exceptional speed and burst out of the backfield, Freeman has the ability to really grind a defense with his yards after initial contact.
Prior to an ankle injury that really hindered his otherwise strong rookie season, Freeman was among the best in the NFL at gaining yards after initial contact.
With Lindsay and Freeman, the Broncos have two young running backs capable of running at, around, through, and straight past defenders.
Freeman is a major building block for this Denver offense, and his presence shouldn’t be diminished or discounted. The more successful Freeman is, the better Phillip Lindsay is going to be over the long haul because he’s not going to have to take 25 carries a game.
Freeman can be the workhorse and Lindsay can be the home run hitter, though both are capable of playing either role.
Freeman may not have the 4.35 speed of Lindsay, but he makes quick cuts, has great vision, breaks a lot of tackles, and just has a nose for the end zone.
This is a player Denver has to be really excited about going forward, especially with the emergence of Lindsay alongside him.