Denver Broncos Countdown to Kickoff: Ronnie Hillman - 20 days

USA TODAY Sports

The Mile High Report staff each ranked their top 20 most important players on the Denver Broncos roster. We averaged the rankings and compiled them into a final list that best represented the overall choices. We begin 20 days until kickoff with 2nd year Running Back Ronnie Hillman.

The Rankings

Overall rank (1-20)

Kyle Montgomery

Bronco Mike

Tim Lynch

Ian

Henson

Scotty

Payne

Topher Doll

Big Pete

Mr. East

Brain Shrout

Jon Heath

20th

9th

11th

N/A

20th

16th

19th

N/A

N/A

N/A

9th

*Hillman did not receive a single vote from Tim Lynch, Big Pete, Mr. East, or Brian Shrout

From the Horses' Mouth

Big Pete

Ronnie Hillman didn't make my Top 20. I think he's ok, and I'm very willing to eat an enormous plate of crow if he proves me wrong, but I just don't think Hillman is a vital component of our offense. He's bulked up some, but until he starts proving it to me on the field, this kid will never be "Top 20" in my eyes, especially seeing I doubt that very many of us expect him to actually retain his starting job. I'd put both Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball (based off of hopes alone) ahead of Hillman. Again, I hope I'm wrong and Hillman rushes for 2,000 yards and 32 TDs, but I have a feeling that when the dust settles and the page is turned on this season, Ronnie Hillman won't be the starting Running Back much less be considered a Top 20 guy.


Scotty Payne

The running game in general will be vital to the Broncos overall success in 2013. Yes our passing game will rank as one of the best if not the best in the league this year, but if the Broncos want to win in the cold month of January they will need their running backs to step up.


This is why I ranked Ronnie Hillman as one of the top 20 important Denver Broncos of 2013. Now this ranking is pretty interchangeable between Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno. Who ever is the top back for the Broncos will be important to them. Actually all three will be important to their success. Hillman is listed as the starter, so i voted for him. Now Hillman has big play ability in him. He's fast and shifty. We need to see some of that this year. A big running play, taking a screen play for big yards, or just keeping Manning upright in the passing game. He will need to do all that for the Broncos.

Kyle Montgomery

I feel like a lot of people are undervaluing the importance of Denver's running game to the team's success this season. It's a fact that the only success the Broncos have had in the Super Bowl came behind the running legs of Terrell Davis. I had Ronnie Hillman ranked as the 9th most important Bronco on my list for that reason, and am surprised he is ranked this low. Just look at the Baltimore playoff game: the Broncos were unable to move the ball on the ground, and when the passing game froze (pun intended), the offense as a whole stalled. One preseason game in, I am not confident in Montee Ball having a great impact this season (that may quickly change, but I can only speak to my confidence now by what I have seen). So the running game onus is on Hillman. Fortunately Hillman's preparation this offseason has been excellent - he's bulked up, he's mentally engaged, and he should hit the ground running this season as a key cog to the 2013 Denver Broncos.

Bronco Mike

The general feeling I have is this player can be any of the running backs.  I went with Hillman because he's the starter right now.  Whoever the guy is they have to be consistent.  We don't need great production just consistent production.  Can they consistently gain yardage on 1st down and make 2nd down more manageable? Can they pick up tough yards when not much is there?  Can they pick up a blitz and keep Manning off his back?  Can they be flexed out at WR and provide another viable option for Peyton Manning to throw to, can they be trusted to turn a checkdown into a firstdown when the coverage is good on the outside?  Ronnie Hillman, step right up!

What do you think MHR?  Do you agree or disagree with the rankings?

Notable Broncos to wear #20:

Louis Wright 1975-1986

Brian Dawkins 2009-2011

Current Bronco wearing #20:

Mike Adams

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