The Denver Broncos are expected to sign rookie running back Royce Freeman on Thursday.
Freeman, a third-round draft pick out of Oregon, will sign a four-year rookie deal with a signing bonus of just under $1 million, according to Mike Klis of 9News.com in Denver.
When the deal becomes official, the Broncos will have their entire 10-player draft class under contract.
Freeman has been impressive during offseason workouts, to the point when Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said late last month that he has a chance to enter the season as the team’s starting running back.
Freeman is expected to challenge Devontae Booker for the leading role. Booker, 26, rushed 79 times for 299 yards with one touchdown in 13 games last season.
C.J. Anderson, last season’s leading rusher, signed with Carolina.
The 22-year-old Freeman holds multiple school records at Oregon, including career rushing yards (5,621), all-purpose yards (6,435), total touchdowns (64) and rushing touchdowns (60). The 6-foot, 229-pound Freeman rushed for 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns last season after an injury-plagued junior campaign.
His career rushing yardage is the second-most in Pac-12 history behind former USC back Charles White (6,245). De’Angelo Henderson, rookies Phillip Lindsay and David Williams are also in the mix for carries in Denver.