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Denver Broncos: Why Ronnie Hillman Will Become an Elite Running Back

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MAY 11:  Running back Ronnie Hillman #34 of the Denver Broncos puts his helmet back on during rookie camp at Dove Valley on May 11, 2012 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Baily DeeterSenior Writer IIIJune 22, 2012

When the Broncos picked Ronnie Hillman in the 2012 NFL Draft, some people were happy. Others didn't like the pick at all. 

Denver had some problems on defense last year, and a lot of people wanted a cornerback or even a wide receiver. However, the team decided to add another fast running back.

And soon, the pick will pay off.

Hillman is a fast, explosive running back who has great vision. While he is small, he can break tackles, and he dominated while playing at San Diego State.

San Diego State isn't anything like the NFL, but while playing at SDSU, Hillman showed why he can play in the NFL despite his size. He sprinted through every hole and broke tackles, and he used his great vision to find the best place to run.

Usually, that wasn't good for the defense.

The Broncos had a good running game last year, but Willis McGahee, Denver's starting running back, fumbled six times and scored five touchdowns. Denver wants more production in the backfield, so they drafted Hillman, who averaged 5.5 yards per carry and scored 19 touchdowns in 2011.

McGahee will probably start at running back, but expect Hillman to get a chance. McGahee isn't much of a pass catcher, and with Manning at QB, the Broncos won't use the offense that helped McGahee run for 1,199 yards.

With Manning at the helm, the team will throw the ball a lot more. While Hillman doesn't have superb hands, he uses his speed to get open, and he could be a good target for Manning.

When Manning was in Indianapolis, the Colts ran the stretch play a lot. The stretch play is designed to give the running back the ball and have them run to the edge, just past the offensive lineman farthest to the right or left. It also gives running backs the opportunity to cut back to the other side.

Since Hillman is fast, explosive and has great vision, he is the perfect guy to run the stretch play. Therefore, he will get an opportunity to show his stuff in the NFL.

As long as John Fox gives Hillman a chance in the stretch offense, he will show what he can do. Since he is a better fit in Manning's offense than McGahee, and since he is a better pass target, Hillman will become a starter by the end of the season, and an elite running back soon after that.

Once he becomes elite, Denver will be unstoppable.

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