…Montee Ball, RB from Wisconsin
This pick at No. 58 makes sense on a few fronts. Injuries have beset the Broncos’ running backs over the past couple of years. So quality depth at this position is necessary.
Knowshon Moreno’s production in the final 4 games of the season was a pleasant surprise. He was finally playing up to his potential. However, just like in 2011 the injury bug caught up to Moreno and at the worst possible time. Moreno got hurt in the 2nd half of the divisional playoffs while having a good all around game. Moreno’s quality of play has definitely improved. Unfortunately his reliability has not based on his inability to stay on the field. As for Willis McGahee he is going to be 32 years in the middle of the 2013 NFL season. Now I would love to be 32 again but in the NFL it is considered long in the tooth. And for a running back 32 is Old Man River. In addition to his own injury problems McGahee did put the ball on the ground a few times last year in critical situations. Lance Ball is servicable but he is mostly a decoy back and special-teams guy. Thus he won’t factor into the every down back rotation. Heck, he won’t even be the best Ball on the team now.
While the NFL is predominantly a passing league the running game is still extremely valuable as we saw on January 12th. At 5-11 and 214 lbs Montee Ball will be able to absorb the pounding NFL defenses dish out. He’ll also be able to get those hard yards between the tackles for which second year back Ronnie Hillman is not built. Ball hits the hole hard, is a decisive runner, illusive, and hard to bring down. Thus he is likely to be most productive late in games when opposing defenses are gassed. He is also a good receiver out of the backfield. In his junior year in 2011 Ball had 24 receptions and 6 TD. The one concern with Ball is that he had 983 touches in his college career so there are concerns about how much gas is left in the tank, relatively speaking. I am not suggesting taking the pigskin out of Peyton Manning‘s hands but there will be times when running the ball might be a better option; perhaps in extremely cold weather. So I like this selection and Ball’s ability to tote the rock 20 to 25 times a game if necessary.
We won’t know the end result of this draft for a couple of years, but on the surface John Elway and the Broncos front office made another quality pick in the second round.