Royce Freeman was supposed to be the Denver Broncos’ lead back in 2018. A second-round pick with an impressive frame and body of work at Oregon, that was apparent. But, then, little known undrafted and undersized Phillip Lindsay took reigns of the position, then went to the Pro-Bowl for his efforts.
Following Lindsay’s breakthrough season, the Broncos are committed to sharing the two’s carries 50/50. Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson reaffirmed that on Twitter, then noted that the team feels “really good” about Freeman.
4. #Broncos are feeling really good about RB Royce Freeman right now. To the point that they are hoping to finally establish the true split-touch situation that they envisioned between Freeman and Phillip Lindsay last season. They feel like that plan is fully on track for 2019.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) July 31, 2019
Freeman started eight games and played in 14 for the Broncos as a rookie. He finished the year with 130 attempts and converted it to 521 yards and five touchdowns. Lindsay, on the other hand, came in as a backup but had 62 more attempts, 516 more yards, and four more touchdowns. He also led the NFL in average with 5.6 yards per carry.
Despite his impressive rookie year, the Broncos are smart to split the carries 50/50, as Lindsay and Freeman complement each other in opposite ways. Where Freeman is a more prototypical 6-foot, 238-pound power-rusher, Lindsay is a 5-foot-8, 190-pound, instinctual and elusive back.
Despite a lesser stat line, Freeman is an intriguing second-year prospect. As NFL.com’s resident scout Lance Zierlein described before the draft and compared him to Pro Bowler D’Onta Freeman,
He has outstanding size and is a natural runner with good vision who could step into an early starter’s role — especially if teams believe he can handle third down snaps as well.
The hope is that the Broncos build a fire-and-ice, or lightning-and-thunder, or beauty-and-beast rushing attack with the bludgeoning Freeman and slippery Lindsay.