This season, his stats have honestly looked atrocious. But Royal was haunted with injuries and played in a heavy run-oriented offense among other things.
Eddie Royal celebrating with teammates during the Broncos victory over the Steelers on Sunday
Saints RB Darren Sproles displaying his speed against the Panthers
While Darren Sproles is listed as a running back, he can do far more that just run. Saints QB Drew Brees shattered Dan Marino's single-season passing record this season, and guess who was playing in his first season for the Saints this year? Sproles. He is one of the biggest reasons Brees was so successful.
Broncos QB Tim Tebow is improving immensely. He threw for over 300 yards against the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers, and one of his touchdown passes was to Royal. In a lot of ways, Royal and Sproles are alike. Both have sprinters' speed, both are dangerous return specialists, both have ankle-breaking agility and both are vertically challenged.
For Tebow to be successful, he needs to have Royal on his roster. The wideout has also seen some time working out of the backfield during option plays. Tebow is known for his option plays.
Royal is the scatback that the Broncos need to be successful for special teams, passing and running.
Royal's return TDs against the Chargers in 2010 showed his scary athleticism. On the first play in the video, he found a hole and darted off to the races. There was no stopping him. On the second play in the video, he weaves through the special teams and manages to score.
Royal is so fast that every special teamer has a rough time catching up to him. During the Raiders-Broncos game earlier this season, Royal had a punt return TD which gave the Broncos momentum. They went on to win the ball game.
If the blocking is set up for Royal, then he is going for pay dirt.
Every single time.
Teammates Eddie Royal And Tim Tebow head to the sidelines
Tebow is the reason behind the Broncos' revival. His comebacks, miracles and excitement have rallied the Broncos back into the playoffs.
If Tebow has that extra scatback on his offense, every play could be a touchdown. Against the Steelers this week, Tebow threw a beautiful pass to Royal, who snagged it in for six. Royal is that extra weapon for Tebow that he can rely on in tough situations.
Back when Jay Cutler was in town, he utilized Royal many times in the air game. They found a rhythm and the pass-catch combo worked throughout the season. Tebow is still developing, but once his passing heats up, he will connect with Royal.
Royal taking a punt to the house against the Raiders in 2011
If Eddie Royal can haul in nearly 91 catches as a rookie, he can surely do it again.
Tebow just had a career passing game against the Steelers, and if he keeps throwing like that, Royal's stats will rise up again. On special teams, Royal is getting smarter in deciding which lanes to navigate through. He also knows how to get into open space.
He did a lot for Denver's offense as a rookie, and he can do it again. Even in a run-oriented scheme, they can use him on fly-sweeps, Wildcat packages and options. However, his real strength is in the vertical game. Royal is at his best when he is in the slot, and when he is at that position, he can double-cut a corner and take it to the house.
Royal celebrating with his teammates against the 49ers
Slants. Go routes. Out routes. Options. Reverses. Fly sweeps. Jet sweeps. Returns.
Most players in the NFL are limited of what they can do. Royal is limited in what he can't do.
His list of possibilities is endless, and, to an extent, undiscovered. He has been used on most of the plays on that list, but he still has plays to try out. Head Coach John Fox and Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy have done a solid job of getting him involved in the last few weeks. However, they have not been using him as much as they should.
Royal has the possibility to be the next Steve Smith, Darren Sproles or LaRod Stephens-Howling. It is about how he is used. This season is recognized as a disappointment for Royal, but it is absolutely not his fault. It was a new system, a run-happy offense and had a lefty quarterback with an unorthodox spin.
This dynamic player is still learning and mastering the game. He is a work in progress, and the Broncos need to stay invested in him.