Broncos Draft Royce Freeman; Twitter Compares RB to Kareem Hunt for Fantasy

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2018

Oregon's Royce Freeman runs down field against Southern Utah in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)
Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

The Denver Broncos selected University of Oregon running back Royce Freeman with the No. 71 overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft Friday. 

Plenty see a high long-term fantasy football ceiling for Freeman:

Here's how others reacted to the pick:

Freeman is coming off a highly productive four-year stint with the Ducks.

The 22-year-old California native racked up 5,621 rushing yards, 814 receiving yards and 64 total touchdowns across 51 collegiate games. During his senior campaign, he tallied 1,475 yards and 16 scores on the ground in 12 games.

Sam Monson‏ of Pro Football Focus commented on Freeman's status as a potential draft steal:

However, there are worries about whether he will make that type of impact in the NFL.

First and foremost, he accumulated 1,026 touches at Oregon. Workload concerns can't be overlooked since running backs typically start to wear down quicker than players at other skill positions because of the consistent punishment they face.

Then there's his playing style. He was listed at 238 pounds during his time in college, but he doesn't play like an archetypal between-the-tackles bruiser. He relies more on footwork and vision to identify holes before attacking the line of scrimmage, traits more associated with smaller runners.

While that worked within the Ducks' high-powered, fast-paced scheme, the same might not hold true as he tries to fit into an NFL offense.

That's why landing with the right team was more important than how high he went in the draft.

Freeman will hope the Broncos can find a way to maximize his talent. He showed the ability to make a three-down impact at Oregon and will likely get an opportunity to start in the NFL, even if it doesn't happen right off the bat.

Look for him to compete for the starting job with Devontae Booker and De'Angelo Henderson following C.J. Anderson's release. While the team may opt for a committee to open the campaign, the rookie has a strong chance to the finish the year atop Denver's running back depth chart.

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