Devontae Booker, a name that every Ute fan will remember, was a work horse that carried the Utes offense the past two years. He was a very efficient back, rushing for over 1,200 yards and 10+ touchdowns each year with the Utes. Unfortunately, he missed the last 3 games of his senior year due to an injury to his knee, and was replaced by backup Joe Williams. The Utes then went on to win the Las Vegas bowl against BYU later that year.
2016 NFL Draft
Before Booker’s injury, he was predicted to be a 2nd round pick, and seen as a top 3 running back in the country. But because of his knee injury which required surgery,he saw his draft stock drop significantly. He slid all the way to the end of the 4th round, being selected by the Denver Broncos with the 136th overall pick in the draft. As the 7th RB taken in the draft, I’m sure Booker was upset, and felt very underrated being picked so late. I think he was one of the best steals of the draft, and will have the opportunity to prove his doubters wrong.
On paper, Booker is seen as a 3rd string running back for the Broncos, listed below CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. Anderson and Hillman were both able to contribute last year for the Broncos as they both split the carries throughout the year. Both backs ran for around 800 yards on the year, and helped provide a solid rushing attack for the 2015 NFL Champs.
Booker has an excellent skill set, and will only add to the rushing attack for the Broncos. He is a very patient runner who sees the field very well. With the combination of power and finesse, he has the ability to shake any defender on the field and power his way through any tackle. Booker also has great hands and is a very effective pass catcher coming out of the back field.
Looking forward to rookie season
With the already productive back field in Denver, will Booker be able to compete for carries in his rookie season? I think Booker is definitely talented enough to compete with Hillman and Anderson for carries this season. With Anderson and Hillman, you know what you can get. Booker provides a much higher ceiling and a duel threat of being able to run the ball and catch passes.
If Booker can stay healthy, look for him to have an active rookie year. He should be able to see the field and see carries come his way, he will just need to make sure to seize his opportunities and play with a chip on his shoulder.
– Jesse Thayne