Denver Broncos Free Agent Review: Eddie Royal

Eddie Royal of the Denver Broncos celebrates with his teammate Russ Hochstein after catching a touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Wide Receiver Eddie Royal arrived in Denver as the Broncos second round (42nd overall) selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. He started out like a rocket, earning the Pepsi rookie of the week in Weeks 1 and 10. That first week, Royal drew the coverage of Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall because Brandon Marshall was serving a one-game suspension. Royal had a field day and ended up with 9 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown, while adding two carries for 9 yards and 18 yards on punts returns. Broncos Quarterback Jay Cutler only completed 16 passes and Denver stomped the Raiders 41-14 in Oakland. Eddie finished the year with 91 receptions, 2nd most in NFL history for a rookie, behind only Anquan Boldin who had 101. His 980 yards and five touchdowns are both Broncos rookie records. He was seventh in the league among wide receivers in receptions, and sixth in the NFL in total yards.

Eddie Royal

#19 / Wide Receiver / Denver Broncos

5-10

185

May 21, 1986 (Age: 25)

Virginia Tech

Agent: Todd France (FAAM)

In 2009, Eddie became just the second Bronco and 11th player in NFL history to return a punt (71 yds.) and a kickoff (93 yds.) for touchdowns in the same game at San Diego (Week 6). He was also the first player since the 1970 NFL merger to record his team’s longest run (71 yds.), reception (93 yds.), kickoff return (95 yds.) and punt return (36 yds.) in the same year. Early in the 09-10 season, Royal became the 3rd fastest player in NFL history to reach 100 career receptions (20 games). He is also one of two players in the NFL (New Orleans RB Darren Sproles) to post at least 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 2,000 return yards since 2008. He registered 1,093 combined yards in 2010 en route to becoming the fifth Bronco in team history to post at least 1,000 combined yards in each of his first three NFL seasons.

Receiving Kickoff Returns Punt Returns
G Rec Yds Y/G AVG Lng TD KR YDS AVG Lng TD PR Yds Avg Lng TD
12 19 155 12.9 8.2 26 1 3 47 15.7 20 0 12 194 16.2 85 1

Royal was targeted 49 times, had 8 catches that resulted in 1st Downs, one catch over 20 yards and 69 Yards After the Catch.

2011 Season Highlights:

In the season opener on Monday Night against Oakland, Royal caught two passes for 33 yards, including a 15-yard reception on third-and-10. He has caught multiple passes in each regular season-opener since entering the NFL.The following week vs. Cincinnati, he caught two passes for 18 yards before suffering a groin injury in the 2nd quarter that sidelined him for the remainder of the game. Eddie recorded four 2-reception games in 2011. His most productive game receiving came in Week 8 at home against the Detroit Lions when he made six catches for 41 yards.

In the Wildcard Playoff vs. Pittsburgh, Eddie had 3 catches for 49 yards and a Touchdown. He also had 27 return yards.

In the Divisional Playoff vs. New England, Royal caught 2 passes for 25 yards.


Scouting Report

From 2008:

Assets
His elite speed combined with his excellent hands make him a big-play threat whenever he touches the football. Has the jets and versatility to be an asset on Special Teams as well.

Flaws
Needs to get a little bigger and stronger. Is still learning the little wideout moves that can fool defenders. Not a very physical receiver. Can be very inconsistent.

Career Potential -- Average wideout / explosive return man.


Royal made $555,000 in 2011 and under the new CBA, must be paid a minimum $700,000 in 2012. It is safe to say he will be earning more than that, whether it is in a Bronco uniform or not. I don't believe Denver will place the franchise tender of $9.4-$9.8 Million or the Transition Tender of $8.4-$8.8 Million on Eddie. The market right now for a Wide Receiver-Return man runs around $1.3-$1.5 Million per season. Since his rookie year, Royal has had to endure two seasons of a coach not utilizing his talents (McDaniels), different Head coaches with different philosophies, three Quarterbacks and most recently, a drop off in the passing offense. It is no wonder his numbers have steadily dropped. Still, it can't be said that he has helped his cause much for a big payoff in a second contract.


Royal, Ryan Clady and Free Agent Spencer Larsen are all that's left from Mike Shanahan's final draft as head coach of the Broncos.

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