Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Eddie Royal - The Future...

Today the blogosphere and even some of the papers are running rampant with reports of what Eddie Royal could be or might be. I'd like to focus on what rookie Eddie Royal is:

The Future.

Some fans of the Denver Broncos may not have been lucky enough to catch training camp, if they had they would have seen the number 19 laying out for passes and running with wild abandon. Early reports from Jay Cutler and head coach Mike Shanahan back during team camps were that the rookie wide out was, "Impressive."

While you cannot give much weight to the recently released depth chart, as Mike Lombardi pointed out earlier this week, preseason depth charts are generally more about confusion than clarity. Why would we list a starting day lineup and give a first week competitor five weeks to prepare for your team?

I think that a prime example of this is who is directly listed behind primary wide receiver Brandon Marshall, that would be Eddie Royal. Royal himself said in an interview yesterday that coaches were telling him to hang out with Brandon Stokley and learn the slot position. The looming suspension of Brandon Marshall has been something the Broncos coaching staff has known about since before the preseason began. If they were grooming him to replace Marshall, he wouldn't be studying Stokley. He's being groomed to be a slot receiver. He's a burner and as of right now that's how Denver is planning on using young Eddie Royal.

That tiny gray cloud that has been hovering above Dove Valley is soon to explode though and that's when we'll see Eddie Royal. I anticipate that if Brandon Marshall is suspended Darrell Jackson will move up to one, Brandon Stokley will push out to number two and Eddie Royal will play the slot. Moving Keary Colbert into the fourth position on the depth chart. That's not a terrible lineup, having three receivers who were starters last season and a promising rookie in your top five receiving stable.

One thing that is for sure, Denver fans will get a shot at seeing how Eddie Royal looks on Saturday. Pay close attention to who he is matched up against, pay attention closely to all of Denver's wide receiving match ups. Drops are not something that can be forgiven, as there are no excuses, they are due to lack of concentration or nervousness. What we should be looking for mostly though is how the rookie looks during punt returns and/or kick off returns. Preseason is where you see players who may not have a future desperately trying to prove that they deserve one, even if it is only on special teams.

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