Happy Sunday, Broncos Country.
Behind starting running back C.J. Anderson, there isn't much to write home about in regard to the Denver Broncos running back stable.
If the season were to start tomorrow, the team would trot out Juwan Thompson and Kapri Bibbs as their second and third running backs. Both have interesting traits and skills that translate to the NFL, but neither are the kind of player you want starting if Anderson were to miss any portion of time with injury.
It goes without question that an improved running game will undoubtedly help improve the overall efficiency of the offense in 2016, regardless of who is the teams starting quarterback. It was an area the team struggled at mightily for the majority of the season, and must be improved upon if the team wants to help turn the dreadful tide of production fans witnessed offensively in 2015.
Make no mistake, the situation at running back is a cause for concern and one that must be upgraded through this years' draft.
This years top back, Ezekiel Elliott of Ohio State, figures to be long gone by the time the Broncos are on the clock, but there are a handful of other backs who would be intriguing options for the team moving forward.
Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry could be available for Denver with their first pick, but it is unlikely the team feels the need to draft a runner that high after giving C.J. Anderson a four-year contract several weeks ago.
Devontae Booker of Utah and Alex Collins of Arkansas are plausible options for the Broncos in the second round. Each has a unique skill-set that would work well in Gary Kubiak's offensive scheme and both of them should make an early impact as rookies in the NFL.
An under the radar prospect who has been connected to the team through the pre-draft process is San Jose State back Tyler Ervin, who I mocked to Denver just a few days ago and would be a great replacement for Ronnie Hillman, who is not expected to re-sign with the Broncos.
If neither of the aforementioned suit your fancy, there is one back that might appeal to you. His name is Kenneth Dixon and he has what it takes to be an incredible player in the NFL.
In my opinion, the Lousiana Tech product is the most versatile and well-rounded in this class. He finished the 2015 season with 1,070 rushing yards, 467 receiving yards and 26 total touchdowns — and those numbers are with missing two games due to injury. He has produced significantly every year of his collegiate career and demonstrates the consistency and longevity NFL teams and scouts covet at the position.
Some may downgrade him due to the level of competition he played, but his speed, strength, lateral agility and quickness are traits that Dixon possess that will be beneficial for his transition to the NFL. His nose for the end zone, tenacious running style, all-purpose ability and desire to be great will make him a player teams will regret passing on if they don't pull the trigger on him in the draft early.
I have doubts that Dixon lasts until the end of the second round, but would be absolutely thrilled of the Broncos were able to make a move up for or somehow land him on the second day of the NFL Draft. I believe he is a Pro-Bowl caliber talent who would bring a much needed dynamic to the teams' offense that it is currently missing.
Feel free to sound off about Dixon or any of the other backs in this years draft that you would like to see Denver select.
As always, thanks for reading and here are today's Horse Tracks.
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