RB Tyler Badie
With the Broncos' recent rumors of being interested in free agent Pro Bowl RBs Dalvin Cook and Kareem Hunt, those may appear to be pipe dreams after all, at least for now. Therefore, this opens the window for any 'bottom of the roster' candidates to earn themselves a final roster spot come September.
RB Tyler Badie who is entering his second NFL season, was selected in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft and was a member of the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad virtually the entire season before being picked up by the Denver Broncos for the season finale. In week 18, Badie appeared in his first NFL game against the Los Angeles Chargers where his first very touch as a pro turned into a 24-yard touchdown reception. Talk about living your dreams.
Badie is now competing for the third-string RB spot on Denver's depth behind Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine and has reportedly looked impressive during the team's OTAs and minicamp. And given his outstanding pass-catching ability and his violent run style dating back to his days at the University of Missouri, he is an extremely underrated RB in between the tackles.
During his final season at Missouri, Badie rushed for 1,604 yards and 14 touchdowns on six yards per attempt in easily the toughest conference in college football -- the SEC. To pair with his rushing total, Badie caught 54 passes for 330 receiving yards and four touchdowns out of the backfield. All around, this is outrageous production, especially considering the level of competition he was up against. Being able to take on a workload of that difficulty on a poor offense was very exciting film for NFL scouts and GMs to dissect.
One player I enjoy comparing his play style and skillset to is the likes of former Saints and Eagles legend, RB Darren Sproles. Sproles, who played for Sean Payton in New Orleans from 2011-2013, was approximately 5 foot 6 and 190 pounds during his prime. Tyler Badie? 5 foot 8 and 196 pounds. It is a very early and stark comparison to make, considering Badie only has two career touches in the pros however, with Badie's tape at Missouri and the very similar frames between Sproles and himself, it appears very fitting.
Knowing how Sean Payton is practically a genius with his utilization of pass-catching RBs a bit on the smaller side, Badie can potentially be an incredible fit for how Payton plans to use his RBs on third down.
Another interesting factoid: Tyler Badie was actually born in the city of New Orleans but was forced to move in 2006 due to Hurricane Katrina -- the same exact year the New Orleans Saints hired Sean Payton. According to Ryan Mink, editorial director for the Baltimore Ravens, Badie has fond memories of Saints QB Drew Brees and HC Sean Payton visiting his neighborhood at the time to offer assistance following the natural disaster that took place. While Badie was just five years old at the time, this is still a very interesting connection and heartwarming story that brings together both Sean Payton and Tyler Badie on a personal level.
Overall, considering his underrated speed and receiving ability out of the backfield, you have to imagine Badie has a very solid chance of making the team's final roster. And I'm sure his love for Sean Payton through all these years will mean a little extra for him as looks to impress the offensive staff and put people on notice for the remainder of the offseason.