BRONCOS

How does running back Chase Edmonds fit into the Broncos backfield?

Nov 1, 2022, 1:30 PM
Chase Edmonds...
(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos made a big trade on Tuesday when they sent EDGE Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins for a first-round pick and other assets. The Broncos were able to add a player to their running back room that I like in this move to deal Chubb for a premium pick.

Chase Edmonds was traded along with a 2023 first-round pick and 2024 fourth-round pick to the Broncos in exchange for Chubb and a 2025 fifth-round draft pick. A former fourth-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, Edmonds was mostly a reserve player for the Dolphins this season. Now, he gets a fresh start with the Broncos. However, the running back room in Denver is a bit jam-packed with talent.

So, how does Edmonds fit into the Broncos backfield? Let’s take a look.

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Austin Ekeler-like?

Coming out of Fordham, I watched Edmonds during the week of practice for the East-West Shrine Game down in Tampa. Edmonds is listed at 205 pounds, but you saw on his college tape that he could be more than just a change-of-pace back and receiver out of the backfield. There were some scouts in attendance at the Shrine Game that I talked to who compared Edmonds to Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler. That’s high praise for a player coming into the league, even though this was when Ekeler was still a reserve behind Melvin Gordon.

Since that time, Ekeler has broken out as one of the best backs in the league. In the meantime, Edmonds has flashed some ability but he hasn’t produced like Ekeler has today. Instead, he’s kind of the back Ekeler was earlier in his career – so the scouts’ comparison is accurate. Edmonds is not going to be a pile-pusher as a runner, but he is smart and can make defenders miss in the open field as a receiver.

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Odd Man Out

The Broncos now have four capable running backs on their roster. Gordon, Latavius Murray, Marlon Mack, and Edmonds will now make up their backfield – so there’s going to be an odd man out in the rotation. So, who is that going to be? I think Murray retains his role as the lead back when it comes to carries. Edmonds is good, and I believe he’s underrated as a runner, but the Broncos should continue to use a battering ram like Murray to wear opponents down.

I think Gordon could be the odd man out when it comes to touches as a receiver. That’s something Gordon can do effectively, but I think he’s best suited as a goal-line back. With his proven nose for the end zone, Gordon – even with his fumbling history – is arguably the best option for the team when they are near pay dirt. As a receiver, Gordon is good but I don’t think he’s as dangerous as Edmonds is when it comes to catching passes out of the backfield or from the slot position. Essentially, this is likely to be a three-headed backfield.

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Texas Coming

My favorite route for backs is the ‘Texas’ route. A running back leaves his stance and runs to the outside where a linebacker will follow. Once that linebacker commits, the back turns quickly inside towards the middle of the field with wide open spaces in front of him. This is Edmonds’ best route – although he can be used on screen passes and swing routes as well.

In fact, Edmonds can line up as a slot receiver and run routes like a receiver. He’s listed as a running back with “RB” next to his name, but I think Edmonds is more of an “OW” who is an offensive weapon. While we haven’t seen much if any Texas routes from the Broncos this year, the addition of Edmonds means it’s coming – or at least should be – because that’s his favorite route and one he can be effective on.

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