With the NFL Draft just around the corner, I take a look at former Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball. Should we label him as the biggest draft bust in the John Elway era?
When it comes to the NFL Draft, there are players that end up exceeding expectations and have a solid career, some even Hall of Fame careers.
But there are some players that just do not end up working out for the team. And there are always various reasons to why. However, Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway has done a solid job in the draft since becoming a member of the front office in 2011.
However, even the great ones make a mistake every now and then. For this, I am going back to the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Denver Broncos were in an offseason where the season ended in heartbreaking fashion by the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. With the Broncos dealing with questions at the running back position, based on Willis McGahee’s health, the team decided to draft Wisconsin Badger Montee Ball.
He was a bruiser of a running back during his college days, earning Big Ten Conference recongnition and a consensus first team All-American.
He had a solid year during his rookie season, taking over the backup role due to Ronnie Hillman’s inconsistencies and ended the 2013 campaign with 559 rushing yards, most of which came in the second half of the season. Montee Ball appeared to be the running back of the future.
However, in 2014, injuries plagued him, as he only was able to play in three complete games before suffering a groin injury in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. He tried to return against the Rams, but re-aggravated it and was placed on IR for the season.
Montee Ball was unable to fend off C.J. Anderson, a resurgent Ronnie Hillman, and newcomer Juwan Thompson and was ultimately released from the Broncos a week before the 2015 season. His style of running did not fit Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme as he only accumulated 68 yards on 32 carries.
He spent time with the Patriots on the practice squad before getting released two days after the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. He has been involved in two separate run-in’s with the law for battery and felony bail jumping.
So, does Montee Ball deserve the stamp of Denver Broncos draft bust? I would have to say so because of his inability to build off of his successful rookie campaign. He did not even make it to his third season before he was waived.
He was beat out of his roster spot by two undrafted free agents and a third round running back in 2012. He was unable to exceed expectations after some draft analysis believed him to be a solid running back. Not to mention he was familiar with the zone blocking scheme and just could not adjust enough.
For a player that had so much promise coming out of college, I am really sad that one promising rookie season went right down the drain. Injuries and inconsistent performances did him in for the Denver Broncos. It is really difficult to see this happen to a player in the NFL.
It is such a shame. I really thought that Montee Ball would be the running back of the future for the Denver Broncos. However, that is why it the draft bust exists. Hopefully he can get his life back in order and be a great player.
For John Elway, the second round pick out of Wisconsin is perhaps his only major misstep in his five years as a member of the Denver Broncos front office.
Do you believe Montee Ball was a bust for the Denver Broncos or do you think someone else deserves that title in the John Elway era? Let me know in the comments below.