MHR draftnik Christopher Hart had the best description of the Broncos’ third-round choice of running back Royce Freeman:
“We just went from a Ford Focus to a Rolls Royce.”
A Ford Focus is fine. It gets the job done, moves you from one place to the next relatively well, with a few breakdown issues.
But a Rolls Royce? That’s luxury and dependability.
And that’s what the Broncos are counting on with Oregon football’s all-time leading rusher.
“What it shows to us is he’s durable. He played a lot so therefore he can take that,” John Elway said of his first of two third-round picks, noting Freeman is similar in build to C.J. Anderson but faster. “Royce has got a lot better speed, he’s a 4.5 [40-yard dash time] guy. He’s got breakaway speed and has that ability. The experience that he’s had, he’s really got a good feel between the tackles. He’s a guy that if we can get him on the safeties, he has a chance to break it.”
Freeman noted that he uses his size to his advantage - both in running the ball but also in blocking and catching.
“In pass-blocking, I’m able to use my size very well. I feel like I can hold down space and I also can use my size to block guys that maybe some other backs can’t,” he said, adding that he’s also comfortable in the backfield. “As far as getting out of the backfield, I feel like I can do it all. I feel like I can block, split out wide and go out and catch the ball for the team, and I can get the check-down. Anything you can do in the passing game, and however you can be utilized, that’s what I can do.”
Coach Vance Joseph sees a lot of short-yardage potential for Freeman in crucial downs.
“With Freeman, he’s a big back with speed,” Joseph said. “When we get down there in the red zone and we want to run the football, he’s a nice option. When you’re third-and-one, fourth-and-one, he’s a great option.
Freeman knows as a power back he has to take care of his body to stay healthy. After 5,621 yards and 60 rushing touchdowns, averaging 5.9 yards a carry, at Oregon, he has a formula.
“You make sure that you do all you can do to take care of yourself,” he said. “Go in for treatment and make sure you’re taking care of your body first because it is your vessel and your tool that you have in this game. That’s helped me get have the production that I have so far in my career.”
And given Freeman’s interest in blocking, that’s important.
“I want to be the one to deliver that blow and I think as a running back, that is definitely important.”
Royce Freeman could be one of the draft's biggest surprises when we see him suit up for the @Broncos . We always talk about finding quality RBs in the 2nd- and 3rd round. Freeman could be the Day 2 RB that we talk about at the end of the season like Hunt/Kamara #NFLDraft— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) April 28, 2018