Denver Broncos 2013 Breakout Candidate: Ronnie Hillman

By Ben Sullivan
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Second year running back Ronnie Hillman is looking to make his mark on the NFL this year.

The Denver Broncos took the all-around ball carrier in the third round of the 2012 draft to be the next franchise back. But things didn’t go as planned in his rookie campaign.

Hillman carried the ball only 85 times for 330 yards and one touchdown last year. He also needs to work on ball security. With two fumbles in just those 85 carries, ball security is something he needs to improve on in his sophomore year in the league.

While those stats don’t jump off the page, he did average a respectable 3.9 yards per carry. And that shows he has potential.

Potential the Broncos apparently see in him too, because with only rookie Montee Ball as the other possible replacement they cut veteran Willis McGahee this spring.

That puts the door wide open for Hillman to take the number one job by the reigns and not let go.

Ball will be the other back competing for carries, but the former star from the University of Wisconsin has years of heavy workload on his resume. Hillman has fresher legs and a stronger body, better suited for the riggers of life as an NFL ball carrier.

The Denver offense will be led by Peyton Manning and their passing game this year. There’s no doubt about that, but we’ve seen before that a dominant air attack can open up running lanes.

And Hillman could be the guy to take advantage of the space Peyton and company will provide. He’s got the talent, and now he has the opportunity in front of him.

The battle for the number one running back spot for the Broncos will be fierce this summer, and Hillman has the inside track to emerge as the guy in Denver as a breakout star this year.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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