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Ronnie Hillman was the youngest player in the NFL last season at just 21 years of age—in fact, he didn't turn 21 until after the season began.
Hillman was an afterthought at the beginning of the season, as he was buried on the depth chart behind the likes of Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball. However, with a season-ending injury to McGahee, Hillman was given more of an opportunity to shine.
The Broncos are in a difficult situation to assess. McGahee will turn 32 years of age this year, and there is a chance he will be released. There have been rumors that the Broncos want to cut Moreno this offseason too.
Regardless of what Denver chooses to do with their running back situation, one thing is for sure—Hillman will be a key contributor for the Broncos in 2013.
Because of this certainty, Hillman needs to improve in a few areas. Luckily, he did this as the season progressed. If Ronnie can improve in pass blocking and taking care of the football, despite his smallish frame, the Broncos should have no concerns about him being more of a "go-to" back.
The problem is, at just 5'9" and under 200 pounds, the Broncos have concerns on whether or not the San Diego State product can ever be a "go-to" guy.
If the second-year back can improve in those two key areas, it wouldn't be hard to envision Hillman as Denver's best running option in 2013.