Denver Broncos RB Mike Boone is going to have a break out season

Jun 15, 2021; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos running back Mike Boone (26) during an offseason workout at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 15, 2021; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos running back Mike Boone (26) during an offseason workout at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

With Melvin Gordon potentially moving on from the Denver Broncos, Mike Boone is expected to step in as RB2.

During the 2021 NFL offseason, former Minnesota Vikings’ running back Mike Boone signed a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos for $3.85 million.

Signed in 2018 as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings, Boone had his work cut out for him. During his few seasons there, he rushed for 379 yards and four touchdowns on 71 carries, good enough for 5.3 yards per carry.

Once George Paton accepted the role as the Denver Broncos General Manager, he thought highly enough of Boone to bring him into the Broncos’ running back room. With the Denver Broncos last year, he carried the ball four times for 35 yards and had two receptions for 22 yards.

In his entire professional career, he has 75 carries for 414 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, and nine receptions for 50 yards. Those statistics are great for two reasons: he has fresh legs and he has averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

Last season he saw minimal action as he was third on the team’s depth chart behind Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. However, when he did get his touches he flashed some things that have me really excited for his fit in this outside zone scheme that first-year Head Coach, Nathaniel Hackett, is carrying over with him.

Some important traits a running back must have to succeed in an outsize zone attack are:

  • Vision
  • Balance
  • Burst
  • Patience

There is not much tape out there from Mike Boone at the professional level as he has never been “the guy” in any backfield he was a part of. He was behind stud Dalvin Cook in Minnesota, while being behind a pair of good backs in Denver last season,

On his condensed version of the film, I did find some things that make me believe he is going to have a break-out season for this Denver Broncos’ offense. He will still be RB2 behind second-year pro, Javonte Williams, but I do think he will be an impactful player at moments for the Denver Broncos.

Why Denver Broncos RB Mike Boone is poised for a breakout year

1. Mike Boone’s burst

In this clip, the Vikings are just running a simple outsize zone look as you can see each offensive lineman attack at a 45 degree angle, only going play side.

Something that we will see the Denver Broncos run a lot of this season. Mike Boone’s job here is to find the seam and attack it immediately, which he does a fantastic job of in this clip.

One he sees a crease, he sticks his outside foot in the ground and bursts through the gap, creating a big gain for the Minnesota Vikings.

2. Mike Boone’s vision

Simple concept here with the offensive line flowing in one direction, with the tight end peeling backside to seal the backside edge, Mike Boone finds the seam and cuts it back for an 8-yard touchdown run.

With Melvin Gordon no longer a Denver Bronco, having a guy who can punch it into the end zone is just another plus for what Boone could bring to the offense.

There are several examples of Boone’s vision in this game against the Los Angeles Chargers if you would like to see more examples of it. He looks to run off of the play side guard’s hip, but sees an alley and cuts it back perfectly, a staple of the outside zone scheme.

3. Mike Boone’s patience

When running the ball in an outside zone scheme, having patience is vital.

Attacking a seam too early will eventually lead to the back missing a bigger hole, or a chance for an explosive play. It is important to stay horizontal and stretch the defense until that seam opens up.

This play is a perfect example of Boone stretching the play out and waiting until he finds a seam. Once he finds that seam, he plants his outside leg and shoots through the gap like a rocket, and creates another big gain for the Minnesota Vikings offense.

It is important the ball carrier rides the line until he can’t, if he runs out of space, eventually the back just has to get upfield and take what he can get. But the goal in this system is to stretch the defense and to force the linebackers to over-commit and play the sidelines.

Once you have too heavy of flow or pursuit from the linebackers, that is when the running back should strike, or burst, through the hole.

Mike Boone did a great job of this in the play above.

4. Mike Boone can play Special Teams!

Mike Boone’s willingness and ability to succeed via special teams is just an added bonus for the Denver Broncos. New special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes harped on the importance of his unit in his press conference a few weeks ago.

He was not exaggerating.

Ask Broncos Country how special teams can change the flow of a game, in a positive or negative manner. Having someone who is willing to fly downfield like this on special teams is phenomenal for your coverage unit.

Special Teams can swing the entire momentum of a game, especially when you flip the field position as Boone did here.

I expect Mike Boone to have a big role in 2022. Something most people are not talking about enough, but look for Boone to breakout in replacement of Melvin Gordon.