Broncos believe in Ronnie Hillman

February, 21, 2013
2/21/13
1:25
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Lost in the Denver Broncos' disappointment of their playoff loss to Baltimore was the maturation of rookie running back Ronnie Hillman in the game.

Hillman
After Knowshon Moreno was injured, Hillman, a third-round pick, took over and rushed for 83 yards on 22 carries. Hillman impressed Denver because he got some critical yards in key situations in a pivotal game.

“When you lose, people don’t remember the good stuff and we get that,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “But Ronnie really showed me something in that game. We’re excited about him moving forward.”

Expect Hillman to get more opportunities in 2013. Fox called Hillman a “capable” player and by the sounds of his compliments, it seems like Hillman will get an increased role. Fox said he thought it was important for Hillman to get past his rookie season and get used to the rigors of the NFL compared to the college season.

I get the sense that the exact breakdown of Denver’s running game has yet to be determined. I think Willis McGahee and Moreno are both well thought of in Denver, but their history of injuries means Denver will likely add another option in the backfield.

I could see Denver taking a running back in the draft opposed to free agency. Regardless of new faces, expect Hillman’s role to expand.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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