The Denver Broncos tried out five players during mandatory minicamp per team reporter Aric DiLalla: running back Max Borghi, tight end Garrett Walston, cornerback Mykael Wright, kicker Elliott Fry, and long snapper Daniel Cantrell.
Well, one of those players stood out. Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Outten was impressed with Borghi’s performance per Mike Klis of 9news.
“I thought he did some nice things,” Outten said. “He’s got a good switch; he’s patient. He waits for that lane to open and he pops it. He did a couple good things in protection as well.”
Broncos: Borghi Is a Well-Rounded RB
Borghi spent four seasons playing for Washington State, where his all-around game made him a standout. As Outten alluded to, Borghi’s rushing ability is merely one aspect of his skillset.
In college, he was one of the most productive receiving backs in the nation. In 2019, he racked up 86 receptions, which led all FBS running backs. For perspective, no other FBS running back recorded more than 55 receptions in 2019.
In addition, it set a new school record for receptions by a running back.
After the catch, Borghi is elusive in the open field. In 2019, he led all running backs with 26 broken tackles after the catch.
Borghi’s rushing ability should not be overlooked either. During his college career, Borghi rushed for 2,158 yards and 32 touchdowns, while averaging an efficient 5.8 yards per carry.
Despite his collegiate success, some experts have been skeptical that his production will translate to the next level. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said “it is hard to project a successful NFL career” for Borghi in his draft profile.
“Short-limbed, compact runner who requires a limited menu to have rush success in the NFL,” Zierlein wrote. “To his credit, Borghi’s stat line has been solid in all three seasons he was healthy and he offers rushing and receiving versatility out of the backfield. However, he’s a linear runner lacking short-area wiggle and he is much more brake-oriented than gas-oriented when it comes time to hit it between the tackles. Borghi’s acceleration turns into quality top speed to the perimeter or in the open field, but it is hard to project a successful NFL career given his issues creating for himself and an unwillingness to hammer it inside.”
Borghi was not selected in the 2022 NFL draft. The Indianapolis Colts signed him as an undrafted free agent, but they waived him to make space on the roster for free-agent acquisition Phillip Lindsay.
Borghi Could Add Depth at a Volatile Position for the Broncos
Running back is not the biggest need for the Broncos. They already have Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III on their roster, but it would not hurt to add some depth.
In 2018, Football Outsiders conducted a study on injuries in the NFL, and it concluded that running back is the most injury-prone position in the league.
There were several examples of this trend last season. For example, the Baltimore Ravens lost the top three running backs on their depth chart (J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill) before the regular season even began.
So, the Broncos are smart to explore their options behind Williams and Gordon.
At the moment, Borghi remains on the free-agent market, and the Broncos have not reached a deal with him. Nevertheless, he is a name to monitor over the next couple of weeks.
Earlier in the offseason, the Broncos brought in cornerback Blessuan Austin and wide receiver Trey Quinn for tryouts, and they signed both of them to the active roster.