John Fox: Hillman “a tremendous talent” who will work to improve

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Broncos coach John Fox is still high on Ronnie Hillman’s skill level.

Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, Fox indicated the third-year reserve running back from San Diego State has some upside.

“I think he’s a tremendous talent,” Fox said. “He does give us great explosion as a runner, and particularly to the perimeter. I know he’ll work very hard this offseason and try to develop and get better for next year.”

Hillman’s playing time fell off after Denver’s Week Seven loss at Indianapolis, a game in which he lost a fumble. He only played three regular season games thereafter, and he did not appear in a postseason game.

Fox indicated that Hillman’s mastery of the Broncos’ offense needs to improve, which could come with time.

“… I think obviously everybody has their own style of offense. Ours is a little bit of communication at the line, so it changes,” Fox said. “I think that slows down, in my opinion, a running back’s development. He’s got no issues with running the ball.”

With Knowshon Moreno slated to be an unrestricted free agent, Hillman could potentially vie for more snaps in 2014. Then again, an addition or two at the position would seem likely if Moreno didn’t return.

Hillman does not turn 23 until next September, which works in his favor as he tries to gain an NFL foothold. The 2012 third-round pick has had two seasons to learn the finer points of the Broncos’ offense and the pro game. If ever there were a season for him to take a step forward, this would be it.