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Broncos Ready to Make Royce Freeman the Primary Running Back in 2018?

Rookie running back Royce Freeman will be the Denver Broncos’ “primary back before too long” according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.

“Now, that might not mean 250 carries,” Legwold cautions, “but he’s going to get work and already blocks well enough to play on third down and in some of the open formations. And he’ll get red zone chances, too.” Freeman certainly caught the eye of fantasy players with 38 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener.

A third-round draft pick out of Oregon, Freeman is currently listed second on the depth chart to third-year back Devontae Booker but looked much better than Booker in the preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings. The Broncos may employ the dreaded running-back-by-committee approach to begin the season but most observers except Freeman to assume control soon.

Broncos Home Stadium Gets a New Name – For Now

The home of the Broncos will be known as Broncos Stadium at Mile High while the team continues to look for a new naming-rights sponsor, the Associated Press reports

The team announced the temporary name change Wednesday following a vote by the district that oversees the taxpayer-built stadium.

The stadium has had two naming-rights sponsors since it opened in 2001, most recently Sports Authority. Both names included a reference to the Broncos’ original stadium. The team took down large signs with Sports Authority’s name earlier this year after the company declared bankruptcy and stopped making payments.

In a statement, Broncos Chief Commercial Officer Mac Freeman said the team has had “many productive conversations” and is confident it will find the right partner.

An Early Guess At Who the Broncos 2018 MVP Will Be

The Broncos have a season starting in less than 100 days, and with a long training camp and season upcoming, there’s plenty of chatter as to what player might shine better than the rest as the teams Most Valuable Player.

An article out on NFL.com talks about just what player they think will be the MVP for not only the Broncos, but for each team around the National Football League for 2018.

The Broncos MVP – author Dan Hanzus is going with LB Von Miller, a very good player that he sees having a big year in Denver this upcoming season.

Here’s what Hanzus has to say about Miller this season:

Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods said he “nearly passed out” when the Browns passed on edge rusher Bradley Chubb in April’s draft, a decision that allowed Denver to grab the N.C. State dynamo with the fifth pick. Von Miller called Chubb “Khalil Mack and Von Miller put together”, which is about as high as praise can get. But the rookie won’t be our MVP pick in Denver. It’s Miller, who stands to benefit greatly from the sudden presence of another game-changing menace near the line of scrimmage. If Chubb lives up to the hype, it could free up Miller to go gonzo in 2018.

What do you think of this pick? Do you agree? Leave a comment if you disagree with what player you think will be the Broncos 2018 MVP.

Broncos LB Shane Ray Facing Surgery on Left Wrist

Broncos’ outside linebacker Shane Ray could be facing another surgery on his troublesome left wrist, sources told Mike Klis of 9NEWS in Denver. Ray is getting a second opinion but as of now, it appears he’s headed for surgery.

If he doesn’t undergo the procedure, Ray would not be expected to miss the season, although it could jeopardize the start.

He first injured the wrist on the first day of training camp last season. He underwent multiple surgeries, then missed the first six games of last season.

A first-round talent who had 8.0 sacks in a part-time role in 2016, Ray had just 1.0 sack in eight games last season before the Broncos shut him down the final two games.

Ray, who just turned 25, seemed healthy during the Broncos’ offseason program until this week, when he sat out the Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice while wearing a splint around his left wrist.

Can the Broncos Go From Worst to First in 2018? Pro Football Weekly Discusses Their Chances

There’s been plenty of buzz around the Broncos since the NFL Draft nearly two weeks ago, as many think that the turnaround for the team will be swift, and not the long drawn out process that it’s taken for the team to start winning.

Today Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm put out an article ranking all eight last place teams from the 2017 season, and if there’s a chance they can make it all the way to first place in 2018.

According to the article, the Broncos have the fifth best shot to unseat the Chiefs for the Division title in 2018 – a feat that won’t come easy.

5. Denver Broncos (5-11)

When the Broncos rolled into their bye last season with a 3-1 record, including a thorough thrashing of the Cowboys and a 2-0 divisional mark, they looked like a team to be reckoned with. But a disastrous October-November freefall left the Broncos in the basement following eight straight losses, with quarterback issues the biggest — but far from the only — shortcoming.

They were a bit more competitive at season’s end, but four of their final five games came against opponents using quarterbacks who were not their teams’ starters entering training camp. Still, that likely saved head coach Vance Joseph’s job, even if he was cajoled into making some major staff changes for this season.

Denver’s offseason felt moderately productive. Case Keenum offers hope of steadiness at quarterback. There were a few other interesting veteran additions, too, including Jared Veldheer, Su’a Cravens and Marquette King. And the draft might provide two Day 1 starters in Bradley Chubb and Royce Freeman, plus a few early contributors, such as Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, Josey Jewell and Isaac Yiadom.

What also works in their favor is the relative divisional unrest. The Raiders changed head coaches, the Chiefs swapped starting QBs and the Chargers remain in prove-it mode until they show they can win close games. On top of that, most of the Broncos’ toughest games are in Denver.

Division title? Feels like a stretch right now. But a rebound season could be in order

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Could Paxton Lynch Find New Life with the Broncos in 2018?

The Broncos’ decision not to draft a quarterback this past weekend may mean fresh life for the NFL career of former first-round pick Paxton Lynch according to Mike Klis of News 9 in Denver.

Broncos general manager told Klis that the team has definitely not given up on Lynch. “We are not kicking him to the curb,” Elway said. “He can still develop. When we drafted him two years ago, as I said, we knew it was going to take some time.” Unfortunately, the coaching staff is running out of time with Lynch as the team has only one more year to decide whether to pick up Lynch’s fifth-year option. And, barring significant injury, Lynch has no chance to win the starting job in Denver for 2018 after the team ponied up more than $25 million in guaranteed money to lure free agent QB Case Keenum.

Lynch has a rocket arm but faceplanted every time he had a chance to unseat former starter Trevor Siemian, who was so anemic in his own right that he was banished to Minnesota to be Kirk Cousins’ backup. Lynch has managed an anemic 76.7 passer rating on 128 career attempts, showing a disturbing penchant for taking sacks and failing to move the chains and he has also battled numerous injuries. While Elway is publicly supporting the QB he traded up to draft in the first round just two years ago, it cannot be a good sign that the GM said Lynch would be battling Chad Kelly-the final pick of the 2017 draft-for the right to back up Keenum. Kelly of course has great bloodlines as the nephew of Hall-of-Famer Chad Kelly but the fact that Elway considers him on equal footing and in open competition with his handpicked future franchise QB speaks volumes.

Could Royce Freeman be the Broncos Starting Running Back in 2018?

Royce Freeman had no idea the Broncos were interested in selecting him in the NFL draft, Gina Mizell of the Denver Post reports.

But the former Oregon star running back acknowledges he scoured various rosters leading up to the weekend in an effort to gauge which teams could be in the market for a running back.

The Broncos snagged Freeman in the third round and introduced him Saturday afternoon. Up next? Immediately challenging for the starting job after the Broncos released 1,000-yard rusher C.J. Anderson earlier this month.

“I am definitely coming in trying to compete,” Freeman said. “That is definitely a big factor … To contribute is definitely my No. 1 goal, however it may be.”

Broncos coach Vance Joseph described Denver’s position-group status as an open competition between Freeman, Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson. The Broncos added depth Saturday by drafting Arkansas’ David Williams in the seventh round and signing former Colorado star Phillip Lindsay as an undrafted free agent. And the physicality required to play the position means the Broncos will need two or three reliable running backs.

Broncos Earn an ‘B+’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Broncos, who according to Kiper got an ‘B+’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

We thought Denver might take a quarterback at No. 5, but with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold off the board, they went best player available. Bradley Chubb is the best pass-rusher in this class by far. He’s not a perfect fit for Denver’s 3-4, but you have to find a way to get him on the field next to Von Miller. He’s too talented. The Broncos’ defense regressed in 2017 — the Rams say “thanks” for Wade Phillips — and ranked only 22nd in the league in sacks with 33. With Miller and Chubb on the field, they’ll get after quarterbacks.

Running back was one of the Broncos’ biggest needs after C.J. Anderson was released, and there weren’t many guys available at 71. Royce Freeman isn’t a big factor in the passing game, but he was the best back left on my board. He had 60 rushing touchdowns at Oregon and packs short-yardage punch at 230 pounds. John Elway & Co. took two receivers to help out new quarterback Case Keenum. Courtland Sutton (pick 40) is a big, raw target. McShay called him a “finesse” receiver, and I agree. You want to see him use his frame better to block off cornerbacks. DaeSean Hamilton (pick 113) impressed me at Senior Bowl practices and tested better at the combine than I expected. Possible steal.

Denver dealt Aqib Talib in the offseason, and I expect former first-round pick Bradley Roby to take that spot. But Isaac Yiadom (pick 99) is a solid player and big, 6-1 corner who should get snaps. I like Josey Jewell (pick 106) as a dependable two-down inside linebacker, but he doesn’t have the speed to cover running backs or tight ends. Troy Fumagalli (pick 156) could fill a role as a second or third tight end.

There’s a lot of value in this class, and Elway & Co. deserve credit for taking the best player available in spots while also filling needs.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/5 Bradley Chubb DE NC STATE
2/40 Courtland Sutton WR SMU
3/71 Royce Freeman RB OREGON
3/99 Isaac Yiadom CB BOSTON COLLEGE
4/106 Josey Jewell ILB IOWA
4/113 DaeSean Hamilton WR PENN STATE
5/156 Troy Fumagalli TE WISCONSIN
6/183 Sam Jones G ARIZONA STATE
6/217 Keishawn Bierria OLB WASHINGTON
7/226 David Williams RB ARKANSAS

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