(CBS4) – With the Denver Broncos training camp underway this week, let’s take a look at how the Broncos line up in the backfield.
In the Hunt:
LeVante Bellamy, rookie
Jeremy Cox, 1st season
Royce Freeman, 3rd season
Melvin Gordon III, 6th season
Phillip Lindsay, 3rd season
Khalfani Muhammad, 1st season
Andrew Beck, 2nd season
Top Offseason Moves: Free agent signing of Melvin Gordon III to a two-year, $16 million contract.
Projected Starter: Melvin Gordon III, Andrew Beck (fullback)
Even though previous starter Phillip Lindsay rushed for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, the Broncos went into the free agent waters and picked up Melvin Gordon III from the Los Angeles Chargers.
After missing the first four games of last season due to holdout, Gordon rushed for a career-low 612 yards with eight touchdowns. He’s a gifted receiver out the backfield with 42 catches last year.
Andrew Beck is hybrid playing both the fullback and tight end positions. He caught nine passes for 90 yards and a touchdown last season.
Reserves: Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman
Lindsay became the first undrafted rookie to rush for consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He rushed for 1,011 yards with seven touchdowns and caught 35 passes. A brand-new father, Lindsay comes into the season on the final year of his rookie contract. He’ll go into camp fighting for snaps against Gordon.
Royce Freeman finished second on the team with 43 receptions. Otherwise, 2019 was a disappointing season for the former third-round pick who had hopes of battling Lindsay for a starting role. Freeman comes into training camp battling for the third running back position on the team.
Best Training Camp Battle: Gordon vs Lindsay and third running back
I’ll give you two for one here! Gordon comes into camp penciled in as the starter with his major payday in the offseason but he’ll have to battle Lindsay to make sure he holds onto the role. Both tailbacks have put up similar numbers over the last two seasons:
Lindsay: 2,048 yards, 16 touchdowns, 70 receptions for 437 yards and a touchdown.
Gordon: 1,497 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns, 92 receptions for 786 yards and five touchdowns.
The biggest difference between Gordon and Lindsay is ball security. Gordon has fumbled the ball 14 times in his career while Lindsay has not fumbled in the NFL.
The third running back spot isn’t guaranteed for Freeman. He’ll battle with Khalfani Muhammad, LeVante Bellamy, and Jeremy Cox. Muhammad was one of the stars in the 2019 preseason and can play special teams as well.
Under the Radar: LeVante Bellamy
Not having any preseason games may hurt LeVante Bellamy’s chances of making the roster, but this undrafted rookie from Western Michigan has plenty of talent. In his senior season, he rushed for 1,472 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Stats to Know:
– Broncos had 103.9 rushing yards per game (20th in NFL)
– Lost six fumbles (Tied for 2nd best in NFL)
What They Said: Melvin Gordon III on what makes Denver a great fit
“You only hear great things about Denver. Obviously, I played there every year I’ve been in the league. I know how great the fanbase is. I like their scheme. I watched film on them. I checked the offensive linemen. I like the way they get to the second level on their double teams. I just thought it was a great move and a great place to start off fresh and help boost my career.”
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