Phillip Lindsay was the guy no team wanted during the 2018 NFL Draft.
Well, not enough to spend a draft pick on him.
Round after round, NFL clubs passed on the 5-foot-8, 190-pound back — and the Broncos sure are glad they have him now.
Through seven weeks, the undrafted free agent leads Denver in rushing yards (438), rushing attempts (75) and yards per carry (5.8).
During his latest performance, Lindsay tallied 90 rushing yards and 14 carries in Denver’s 45-10 romp over the Cardinals. His 28-yard touchdown late in the third quarter helped punctuate the Broncos’ win.
And no matter how many times Lindsay shows off a burst of speed in the run game or a dynamic move in the passing game, opponents can’t seem to find a consistent answer for the Colorado native.
“Lindsay’s so different as a halfback,” Head Coach Vance Joseph said Friday. “He’s a smaller guy who’s a really good receiver. He’s a matchup problem for linebackers, even safeties. When he goes in the game, defenses are guessing.”
Joseph explained that when Lindsay’s in the game, he’s facing shell coverage and is able to find room in the box because the defense has to respect his play-making ability on the edge and in the passing game.
When Royce Freeman carries the ball, Joseph said the Broncos often see a stacked box. The defense anticipates Freeman’s skillset and adjusts accordingly. Lindsay’s range, though, gives him a better chance to run between the tackles — and that doesn’t limit his ability to break plays to the outside.
“A back with his size, you wouldn’t think he’s got that kind of vision to run between the tackles, but he does, and he does break tackles with his speed,” Joseph said. “He’s been a good player for us.”
Joseph said the Broncos saw Lindsay’s ability to run between the tackles as early as training camp.
And he hasn’t stopped impressing the coaching staff through the team’s seventh regular-season game.
If his offensive contributions weren’t enough, Lindsay proves his value as a kick returner and occasional punt returner.
“Phillip is a good football player,” Joseph said. “It’s not an accident that he’s making plays, he’s consistently made plays each week. Whatever he’s given each week, he’s making the best of it.”
Each week, he’s also rewarding the Broncos’ faith in him after he went undrafted back in April.
And with every rushing yard, catch and touchdown, Lindsay’s making a difference in a league that once doubted he belonged.
Joseph seems quite aware of that, too.
“Thank God we’ve got the little guy.”