Fans held their collective breath when 2016 fourth round draft selection Devontae Booker fumbled on his very first carry as a member of the Denver Broncos. The initial judgment from Broncos Country was quite harsh, but after a rough start to his rookie season, Booker finally hit his stride late in the year. In his final two games, Booker had 28 total touches for 189 yards and two scores. Cumulatively, Booker amassed 612 yards on the ground, along with 31 receptions totaling 265 yards and totaled five touchdowns. In the words of former head coach John Fox, Booker's rookie campaign may best be described as "Not too shabby."
Name: Devontae Booker
Height: 5'11" Weight: 219
Age: 25 Experience: 2
The Broncos' backfield is a little more crowded this year in comparison to last, due to the signing of veteran Jamaal Charles and addition of sixth-round draft pick De'Angelo Henderson. However, that shouldn't inhibit the second-year pro from contributing at a high level for the team in 2017. With over 200 total touches and six starts as a rookie, the best is yet to come for the former Utah prospect who should have the ability to flourish in offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's scheme, which utilizes running backs heavily in the passing game — and catching the ball out of the backfield happens to be one of Booker's premier strengths as a player. It's a far ways off, but when the 2017 is all said and done, I wouldn't be the least surprised if Booker proves himself to be the most productive back on the roster.
Possess the desired size and frame of an NFL running back. Patient runner who should be able to improve his overall yards per carry with Denver's upgrades on the offensive line. Exceptional ability as a receiver out of the backfield, which should be accentuated even more under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. While he may lack top-end speed, Booker is a shifty runner who is elusive in the open field. He also displays good cutback ability and flashes above-average agility for the position.
New HC Joseph said C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles, Devontae Booker & rookie De'Angelo Henderson all in mix for snaps. https://t.co/68zKFjRmxM— Evan Silva (@evansilva) May 22, 2017
Had issues with his field vision while acclimating himself to the NFL in 2016, which caused him to miss some open running lanes. Struggles with accumulating quality yardage after contact. Fumbles (four as a rookie, three of them resulted in turnovers), dating back to his collegiate career at Utah have been an issue for him. Booker also lacks a top-level second gear which hurts his ability to break long runs.
"My message to Broncos fans is I want to be one of the best running backs to come out of Denver. I'm not there to carry pads. I'm there to take someone's job." — Booker after being drafted by the Broncos
Booker is a virtual lock for the Broncos' final roster (barring injury) and should be a quality contributor for the team in 2017. While I'm excited about Charles' potential in Denver, it's uncertain whether he (or C.J. Anderson) can stay healthy enough to be relied upon heavily. As mentioned earlier, he will have a chance to flourish and showcase his abilities with Mike McCoy calling the plays on offense. Furthermore, his system is much more comparable to what Booker played under with his time at Utah as opposed to Gary Kubiak's offense, which should help the second-year back out tremendously this season.