The Denver Broncos don’t have a pressing need at the running back position, but they could be players for a late-round gem there.
The Denver Broncos don’t have a pressing need for a running back. Then again, nobody does until they do.
The Broncos drafted Royce Freeman in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. They followed that up by drafting David Williams in the seventh round. They signed Phillip Lindsay as an undrafted free agent and really brought just those guys to camp to compete with Devontae Booker, a fourth-round pick in 2016.
Aside from Williams who didn’t make it very long on Denver’s practice squad (he was poached by the Jacksonville Jaguars), that running back group stuck for the Broncos and Lindsay made the Pro Bowl while Freeman showed off some impressive ability to gain yardage after initial contact.
Booker’s usage went down for the third straight year, but he was more effective on a per-snap basis than ever before (6.4 yards per touch).
With those three guys all back this year, the Broncos don’t have any sort of pressing need for a running back, but they should be keeping their eyes peeled for late-round guys in the 2019 NFL Draft with the upside to play right away.
That’s kind of a lot to ask, but there are guys dropping down draft boards every year who can play. Phillip Lindsay is one in a long line of guys — though he’s exceptionally special in comparison — who can come into the league and play immediately.
The Broncos have four picks (right now) between the fifth and seventh rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft. There are often 20-25 backs selected in every NFL Draft. This year’s class includes at least 20 draftable players, maybe more at the position, though there is not really a Saquon Barkley or Ezekiel Elliott type.
We’ll explore more of the options as the Draft progresses, but one of the guys who makes a lot of sense for Denver is Stanford’s Bryce Love.
Love was phenomenal in 2017, rushing for over 2,000 yards on his way to New York as a Heisman finalist. 2018 was a completely different story. He struggled through injuries and is dealing with a torn ACL he suffered on December 1, 2018.
That injury is likely going to keep Love out of offseason activities but he should be ready to roll by the time training camp rolls around. The Broncos might be able to snatch him up in the seventh round.
The Broncos have always had a thing for Pac 12 guys and Love would present a high upside option late in the 2019 NFL Draft if he can get (and stay) healthy.