The Denver Broncos grabbed Ronnie Hillman early in Round 3 of the NFL draft with thoughts of added a speedy threat out of the backfield. Apparently, somewhere between then and now, the Broncos decided that he's better off as a water boy.
I'm not arguing that he should be starting over Willis McGahee. The aging running back has built on his resurgent 2011 and established himself as the lead back. But Denver needs to be careful with relying too heavily on a man with 1,790 career carries, as his rib injury against the Houston Texans indicates.
Keeping Hillman behind slightly used Lance Ball and draft bust Knowshon Moreno is bizarre. Ball is averaging 3.4 yards per carry, while Moreno can't even manage two.
If utilized properly, Hillman would be a perfect complement to the Peyton Manning-led no-huddle offense. His speed would give him a great chance to exploit the seams of a defense. Give him a sliver of space, and nobody will catch him.
Additionally, he demonstrated the ability to catch the ball in college, with 28 catches his sophomore year, so the ability is there. Assuming he studied hard enough when he missed time during training camp, there usually isn't too much of a learning curve for a rookie running back.
Denver also shouldn't be overly concerned with Hillman getting banged up just because he started his career with a nagging hamstring concern. The man carried the rock 573 times in two years at San Diego State University. He can take some punishment.
The future is now for the Broncos. That's why they signed Peyton Manning despite his 36 years of age and four neck surgeries. Hillman is a part of that future. Get him and his game-breaking speed on the field.
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