ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP)—Eddie Royal is so confident he’ll bounce back from a mostly forgettable 2009 season that he’s going to pick himself No. 1 in his upcoming fantasy draft.

“Of course, how bad would it look if I didn’t?” he said.

The Denver Broncos also have faith that the diminutive wide receiver will come up big this year.

Royal largely disappeared from the Broncos offense last year, missing the last two games with a neck injury and finishing with just 37 catches and no touchdowns.

That was a far cry from his rookie year in 2008, when he hauled in 91 passes and had fans believing what he’s always felt—he indeed was worth a high pick in fantasy drafts.

Royal chalked up his sophomore slump to learning coach Josh McDaniels’ complicated offense and not getting in complete sync with quarterback Kyle Orton.

So far in training camp, the chemistry between the two has been quite apparent. Orton threw a deep TD strike to Royal on Wednesday down the left sideline.

Just like it was drawn up.

“He’s just such a versatile player, which in this offense is huge,” Orton said.

Royal hopes he can replicate the kind of success in the slot this season that New England’s Wes Welker had when McDaniels was running the Patriots’ offense.

To help facilitate that, Royal spent the offseason studying film of Welker, trying to see how the Pro Bowler goes about his business of getting open.

Like Welker, Royal is a small target with sticky hands.

“In the slot, it’s not always about being the fastest guy,” Royal explained. “It’s about being patient—knowing how to set up routes and knowing the entire offense. It’s a lot of different wrinkles you’ve got to learn.”

The Broncos have vowed to make Royal a more integral part of the offense in Year 2 of McDaniels’ system. He won’t disappear from game plans or be the overlooked wideout.

That promise will be easier to keep with Brandon Marshall no longer around to gobble up grabs. Royal is definitely in the running for the title of No. 1 receiver, along with Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd(notes).

Not only that, but another third-year wideout, Matthew Willis, is making a strong push for a big role as well.

The team also drafted two highly touted receivers, taking Demaryius Thomas in the first round and Eric Decker(notes) in the third.

But those two are still digesting an elaborate playbook, a plight Royal knows all too well.

“I see the same looks in their eyes as I had,” Royal said, grinning. “I kind of pull them to the side and calm them down a little bit. I know things are going real fast for them right now.”

Thomas and Decker are big targets for Orton, while Royal relies on speed to work his way free of coverage.

His preference remains to play outside and he bristled at being typecast as simply a slot receiver.

“I don’t like to be labeled as a slot guy,” said Royal, a second-round pick out of Virginia Tech who’s listed very generously at 5-foot-10. “But I do feel comfortable in there.”

With Marshall in Miami and clear of the picture, there will be plenty of passes to go around for Royal & Co. Not that he’s viewing the situation quite like that.

“Whoever catches the ball, catches it,” Royal shrugged. “We know that they (Broncos coaches) are not picking out one guy to throw the ball to. A lot of times it’s based on the coverage.”

Royal never really meshed into the Broncos’ plans last season. Sure, he caught 10 passes against New England on Oct. 11. But his next best outing was five catches and he had 11 games where he caught three passes or fewer.

While he struggled at receiver, Royal still made a mark on special teams. He became just the second Broncos player to return a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in the same game, a feat he accomplished at San Diego on Oct. 19.

Over the offseason, Royal dedicated himself to improving his already blazing speed. He eschewed extra work in the weight room in favor of running sprints on the track and going through hill workouts.

His reasoning was this: Come the fourth quarter, he will still be fresh.

He also has a better comfort level with the offense now, another factor weighing in his favor.

“I know what every position is doing in the field, as far as the receivers — the ins and outs of it,” he said.

He’s still not completely sure why he regressed so much under McDaniels after setting rookie team records for catches, yards receiving (980) and touchdowns (five) the year before.

“It’s hard to put your finger on one little thing,” Royal said. “You’re running completely different routes, different scheme, different quarterbacks. Everything was completely different. It’s hard to even compare the two.

“But we’re on a new page, a new start. We’re ready to get going.”

NOTES: McDaniels said NT Jamal Williams might make his training camp debut Thursday. … Several veterans, including CB Champ Bailey, S Brian Dawkins and LB D.J. Williams, sat out the morning practice session Wednesday.