After the Denver Broncos drafted him in the third round to join Peyton Manning and Co. in 2012, it seemed Ronnie Hillman had it made: Much like Edgerrin James had it made, Joseph Addai had it made, even how infinitely less talented Dominic Rhodes had it made for that one year.
Hillman possesses the type of speed and moves that conjured dreams of Manning audibling runs toward wide-open holes and Hillman cashing in on dump-offs in this highly potent Broncos offense. Unfortunately, only Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno ended up capitalizing on this in 2012.
Currently, a majority of the Earth’s population knows Hillman as the guy they or their fantasy football opponent wasted their free-agent budget on and started when McGahee went down late last season, only to see Moreno emerge from witness protection to seize the Broncos’ featured back role. The general word was that Hillman couldn’t cut it in pass protection, and that’s a must if one hopes to get made by Manning.
That is also what training camp is for.
Hillman has added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason to his relatively slight 5-9, sub-200-pound frame and feels embolded from the 22 carries for 83 yards he got in the Broncos’ playoff loss. Hillman is surely aiming to improve his pass pro and doesn’t want to hear that he’s not durable enough for a featured back role.
“You get that when you’re a smaller guy,” Hillman said, via NFL Network’s Dan Hanzus. “You can’t take the pounding, but I just brush it off. Of course you hear things, I’m not going to sit hear and say I don’t hear what they say, but you just got to let it go. … Obviously, getting 22 carries in negative 13-degree-weather against the Ravens (in the divisional playoffs), they shouldn’t have much else to say about that if they’re paying attention.”