Royce Freeman Scores TD, Most Impressive Broncos RB in Preseason Opener

Though he didn’t start, rookie RB Royce Freeman was Denver’s best back by a mile during his NFL debut, notching 38 yards and a TD on just 4 carries (9.5 YPC). He saw some time with the ones, and never went under 4 yards on a single carry, which included a highly-impressive 23 yard score.

On the score, Freeman displayed some excellent vision and acceleration. First, he found a clean cut back lane with the play-side congested, before bouncing to the outside and scampering around the entire defense into the end zone. He showed well in pass-protection as well, and brings rare three-down ability for his massive 234 pound frame. Meanwhile, “starter” Devontae Booker was his usual unimpressive self, notching just 7 yards on 2 carries. In fact, over 253 career carries, Booker’s tallied just one run over 20 yards. Freeman needed just four carries to tie his accomplishments.

Still, Freeman’s own talent was never the main question here — that’s his role and usage. HC Vance Joseph has already said the team will “use 2-3 ‘main’ backs” each week. This suggests a definite committee no matter who emerges atop the depth chart — nevermind that the top spot currently belongs to Booker, with in-tune beat writers projecting him to open as the “Week 1 starter,” and this backfield featuring “a heavy dosage of Booker” regardless of depth chart labels.

Should he continue this impressive preseason play, however, Freeman may force them to change their tune. If he does indeed secure the main gig, Freeman would be running behind an “improved offensive line” now featuring the stable Jared Veldheer at RT, and in an offense that should progress with Case Keenum now under center. He gets a slight +11 bump up my Big Board for now, but remains below the ECR and ADP until this RBBC situation clears up.

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