Royce Freeman pushing Devontae Booker to be Broncos’ lead back

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The Broncos’ leading rusher from last season, C.J. Anderson, is now in Carolina. Which leaves an opening for the lead role in Denver this year.

Devontae Booker, who was second on the team in rushing last season, is the presumed favorite. But rookie third-round draft pick Royce Freeman is making a case for himself.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Freeman “absolutely” has a chance to be the team’s starting running back this year, according to ESPN.

Freeman is accustomed to being a lead back. He was a four-year starter at Oregon who finished his career with 947 carries for 5,621 yards and 60 touchdowns, plus another 79 catches for 814 yards and four receiving touchdowns.

“I think I showed durability and the ability to be there game in, game out,” Freeman said. “I think I showed at Oregon I can deliver the blow as a runner. I’m excited to compete, and we have a good environment in the running back room. I think we do want to see each other do well.”

Last year Anderson finished with 245 carries for 1,007 yards. The Broncos would be thrilled if Freeman could replace that production.

23 responses to “Royce Freeman pushing Devontae Booker to be Broncos’ lead back

  1. That’s one of those headlines that can be read more than one way.

    Sounds like Freeman is advocating for Booker to be the Broncos lead back.

    “Challenging” would’ve been a better choice.

  2. It’s Montee Ball all over again. His college workload was too much for him to have a long successful career. I give him his rookie deal before he’s done.

  3. Bmorepositive123 it’s not really a lot for a college career. Justin Jackson drafted by the chargers this yr had 1142 carries, Devontae Booker had 560 carries in only 2 years. With that said it’s his junior year that is dragging him down. He had seasons of 15 games 252 attempts, 13-283,
    11-168 and 12-244.

  4. SundayPsychic says:

    June 25, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Bmorepositive123 it’s not really a lot for a college career. Justin Jackson drafted by the chargers this yr had 1142 carries, Devontae Booker had 560 carries in only 2 years. With that said it’s his junior year that is dragging him down. He had seasons of 15 games 252 attempts, 13-283,
    11-168 and 12-244.

    Royce Freeman ranks 25th in the HISTORY of D1 for rushing attempts at 947. He also ranks 25th EVER for the amount of touches from scrimmage.

    So yeah, that’s a lot of touches. Sure, pick one guy (Justin jackson) who was drafted recently who happens to rank 6th in history.

    But ranking 25th in the history of college football is a fact: he had a lotta freakin touches in college.

    I wish him the best, hopefully that didn’t take too much out of his longevity

  5. Wouldn’t be concerned about touches playing a 90% soft schedule at O. I like Freeman a lot as a slighty better than middle of the road RB and think he’s a no-brainer over Booker and a late/last round fantasy flier with a lot better offense than Denver had last year.

  6. Bpositive123 he’s done it in 53 games so no it’s not a lot when you compare it to the other guys on the list. Mewelde Moore had 909 in 44 games, Anthony Davis 908 in 40 games, Jahwan Edwards 884 in 48 games, Devontae Booker had 560 in 23 games, Justin Jackson in 51 games had 1142 and those are just handful of recent names on the list. So I guess a more accurate statement is for the amount of games he’s played it’s not a lot.

  7. blkandgld4eva says:
    June 25, 2018 at 11:25 am
    Don’t know anything about the rookie (and maybe he’ll be the next Kareem Hunt), but this has got to be one of the weakest backfields in the league.
    Now that CJ is gone the backfield doesn’t appear to be anything special. Booker is decent but he tries to run backs over and that’s not his thing. I don’t know about him pulling off a Hunt type season but i do expect him to put up so good numbers. The oline has changed up again so fingers crossed on it improving. The rookie that everyone should look up is Daesean Hamilton for the broncos. This dude is going to be very good within the next year or two.

  8. the broncos entire offense was so horrendous last year that they probably can’t do anything but improve. seriously, go back and watch them. they were an offense that simply quit trying after week 8.

  9. “it’s not really a lot for a college career.”

    It’s the 25th most amount of touches a guy has every had in the history of college football in a position that is increasingly physical and in which guys careers have never been shorter.

    Saying a guy has averaged less touches over more college games doesn’t take away from the fact that when he gets to the pro’s, he’s played roughly 2x the amount of plays as other rookies.

    Remember when everyone said ‘Ray Rice took a lot of punishment in college’ before he was drafted? Well, he had 40 less touches than this guy. It doesn’t mean he can’t be productive, but when he’s done with his rookie contract in 4 years he’ll effectively have 2 more years of mileage on him than a lot of other running backs

  10. Terrell Davis in his prime couldn’t have made a difference on this team. They don’t have a QB and teams will just put eight in the box and shut down the offense.

  11. The Montee Ball comparisons don’t quite work.

    Ball finished his career in Wisconsin with 307, and 356 carries in his junior and senior seasons. Meanwhile, Freeman finished with 168 and 244 carries.

    The Ducks did a good job of distributing the ball amongst several running backs… and Freeman is also good about taking unnecessary punishment at the end of long runs.

  12. nelly837 says:
    June 25, 2018 at 8:59 am
    Good luck with O line you might lead the team but you’ll be last in the AFC West.
    Guess that means we’ll be fighting it out with the Faiders!

  13. the Broncos are better off with tailback by committee. As others have said, Freeman has a pitch count and, if nothing else, Booker has been underused as a pro. De’Angelo Henderson is a beast too.

  14. No way Booker should be starting.
    Freeman has to start and be successful if the Broncos are going to turn the corner on offense.

  15. Sometimes teams have good talent but substandard coaching, This Bronco fan thinks that’s the case with this year’s Broncs. i hope Vance proves me wrong and comes up with an 8-8 record or better. That would warrant at least one more year after this one, but something tells me we’re on the same track as when we tired on Josh McDaniels for size and found out he was in over his head. He got fired in the middle of his second year.

  16. Bmorepositive123 No it’s not the 25th most amount of touches, it’s the 25th most carries. Big difference. Your math is crazy. Somehow you think because he played a few extra carries that’s going to amount to an extra 2 years toll on his body? That’s not even getting into you refusing to realize it’s spread out over more games which is a difference. To put it simply what would be more taxing, 40 carries in 1 game or 40 carries in 2 games? As I said for the amount of games played it’s not a lot. Without looking up the numbers I’d also take a guess that his offensive snap percentage is less than most others on the list. It’s a nice stat sure but it needs to be taken in context.
    Also going by your “math” that he will have 2 more years “mileage” than other backs, Jackson had almost 200 more carries so that means what an extra 5 years “mileage”? You see now how your “math” is severely flawed. Maybe the 8th time trying to post this is the charm….

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