No pressure on the fourth-round pick out of the University Utah.
Booker is a great compliment to C.J. Anderson and could make an immediate impact. Booker has the size and style to run between the tackles. He doesn't have the speed of Ronnie Hillman, and Booker needs to improve his receiving and blocking. But the size and style are reasons to like Booker right off the bat.
The main reason to do so is what Booker does after contact. According to Pro Football Focus, he avoided being tackled on the first hit 36.7 percent of his carries, the fifth best in the crop of running backs.
For those who have watched Hillman over his career, that's not a stat he knows anything about. More often than not, Hillman runs into the back of his offensive linemen because he doesn't see the hole, hesitates and loses yardage. That's the main reason Hillman is known as "Drive killer." And almost always, it happens on first-and-goal.
Yes, Hillman is that "change of pace of back" everyone seems to think teams need. Only problem is Hillman is not that guy 99 percent of the time.
I would rather have the guy who is a better compliment and can make an immediate impact in this offense. And Booker is that kind of player.
CBS Sports in its write up of the Booker pick said it's a perfect fit for both parties. As the story said, "the Broncos have a true North-South plowhorse perfectly suited for the one-cut zone running scheme head coach Gary Kubiak employs."
Some of the comparisons people have thrown out include Arian Foster, who played for Kubiak with the Houston Texans, and Terrell Davis in Denver. The comparison of Booker to Davis works for size. Booker checks in at 5-foot-11 and 219 pounds. Pro Football Reference had Davis at 5-11, 206.
No one is saying – at least they better not – that Booker will become Davis, or, Foster for that matter. But what is great to see from his clips is that he has the style needed to thrive in this system. He's the type of back this system needs.
The expectation is that Anderson is the star and unquestioned bell cow back. What would become ideal is if Booker becomes the No. 2 behind him. Think Olandis Gary as the No. 2 to Davis back in the day. If that happens, this offense would be unstoppable. Anderson and Booker as a one-two punch?
Some people like Hillman, but he's just not a fit in this offense or system. If Booker lives up to the hype, there's no need for Hillman. The contract he signed a few weeks ago only carries a $500,000 cap hit, but can be worth up to $2 million.
With people saying Booker is the "perfect fit" and "a steal," why did he fall to the fourth? It may have to do with his age (24), his academic status early at Utah and/or concern over his knee injury. But as Mike Klis tweeted, "At combine, RB Devontae Booker said he needed second procedure on torn meniscus and that second one took." That would mean he's ready to go.
What was awesome to see is Anderson tell Booker he'd help any way he could. "I said, 'you push me, I'll push you,'" Anderson said.
In terms of motivation, some have said Booker is the best running back on the Broncos' roster. Game on, Anderson.
Booker is a fourth-round pick.
He hasn't stepped on the field yet in Denver. But if all goes as planned, when he does, the Broncos will have an offense that runs the ball at will.
Two ways Elway and Denver helped ensure the running game is better and more resembles the Kubiak system is through the selections of offensive lineman Connor McGovern from Missouri and Andy Janovich out of Nebraska.
McGovern could become a starter at either guard, and Janovich will be the natural fullback. As Elway said about Janovich, "A tough, hard-nosed player who can block & play special teams. An old-school throwback player."
Elway on McGovern: "Is a tough, intelligent & athletic guard. He's also played some tackle."
Add Paxton Lynch at quarterback, and you see the makings of a great offense. A Kubiak offense.
An offense that runs the ball at will with two great running backs.