The NFL combine is underway in Indianapolis and as a part of that, coaches and executives speak to the media about their team. John Fox addressed the media about the Denver Broncos on Thursday and what stood out to me were his thoughts on the younger players on the Broncos.
There’s been a lot of talk since the season ended about Rahim Moore and Ronnie Hillman. There are a lot of fans who believe that those two players should be cut by the Broncos; Fox disagreed, and so do I.
We’ve talked about Moore and his mistake at the end of the playoff game versus the Baltimore Ravens, but too much of that discussion has been based on emotion. Moore had a very good second season at safety and will only get better. It was a mistake, a big mistake at the wrong time, but cutting a good young player because of that would be insane.
As for Hillman, it’s quite possible that the running back was done a disservice by people like me. He was talked up and we raved about his big play ability, but Hillman struggled to adjust to the pro game. Now we are hearing things such as blown draft pick and bust, really? Hillman just turned 21 and was the youngest player in the NFL in 2012, and we want to give up on him already? I understand that fans are impatient, but give me a break. Hillman has a ton of talent and his role will increase tenfold in 2013. He may never be the every down back but that’s not why he was drafted, he was selected by the Broncos to be the big play threat out of the backfield. Not every rookie makes an impact right away, and sometimes patience is required. Luckily, the people that run the Broncos understand that.
In addition to Moore and Hillman, Fox said that Nate Irving will get a shot at the middle linebacker spot. Irving was drafted two seasons ago and, again, some have called him a disappointment. However, remember the point we just made about Hillman – some players just need more time. Irving was terrific on special teams in 2012 and has earned the right to at least compete for the job.
The Broncos, under the direction of John Elway, have said that they must build through the draft if they are going to be good over a long period of time. In order to do that, they must be patient with those draft picks and allowing them to develop.
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