News: Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase said Wednesday the team has high expectations for rookie running back Montee Ball. Hes trying to pick up the offense," Gase said. "Hes a rookie. There are a lot of things going on, and hes trying to pick it up as quick as possible. Obviously drafting him in the second round, were looking for him to make some kind of impact for us and be able to be on the field five, six plays and work together with that group of running backs.
Analysis: Ball has the chance to start for the Broncos, especially if Willis McGahee and/or Knowshon Moreno are released prior to training camp. Keep an eye on what happens with Ball, who is likely to share playing time with Ronnie Hillman. We view Ball as a No. 2 Fantasy running back with upside. He's worth drafting in Round 5 in most standard leagues.
News: With Willis McGahee not in attendance and Knowshon Moreno not cleared for team drills, Ronnie Hillman and rookie Montee Ball split reps at the Broncos' OTA practice on Monday. USA Today reports Hillman had more first-team reps.
Analysis: You wouldn't expect a John Fox-coached team to give a rookie running back the majority of carries in a spring practice, would you? Ball is going to have to earn the primary rushing role, but it's a role he could get after the Broncos invested a second-round pick in him. Hillman has been referred to as a "change of pace" runner and he struggled last season to get first-team work (Knowshon Moreno leapfrogged him). The more work these two get now, the better they'll be in September. Ball will be found in Round 5 in drafts while Hillman is going to go later, roughly Round 10. Those estimates could change if the Broncos move on from McGahee and/or Moreno.
News: The Denver Post reports that Broncos coach John Fox doesn't care about rookie running back Montee Ball's speed. His 40-yard time at the NFL scouting combine of 4.66 seconds ranked 19th among the running backs who participated. There were seven defensive linemen and five linebackers who had faster 40 times. "I don't put as much into speed times on running backs as maybe some other people do," Fox said. "That's all nice, but how many guys are breaking 80 yards anyway? The league is too fast." Told how Fox downplayed speed by explaining the league's lack of 80-yard runs, Ball said: "That's what I always wanted to say to the NFL teams at the combine. There are only three or four running backs that can do that in the NFL right now."
Analysis: The report added that of the 48 rushers who gained at least 375 yards last season, only Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Jamaal Charles had an 80-yard touchdown run. Alfred Morris, the league's second-leading rusher, never had as long as a 40-yard run. Clearly, Ball's game isn't based on speed. Playing in the physical Big Ten Conference, he rushed for 3,753 yards and 55 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons combined. His 77 career rushing touchdowns and 83 overall touchdowns are NCAA records. He is going to make plays between the tackles and score in the red zone, and he should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy running back if Willis McGahee is released as expected. Plan on drafting Ball in Round 5 in standard leagues and with a first-round pick in rookie-only formats.
News: NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell believes rookie running back Montee Ball is an "ideal fit" for the Broncos, adding that he's the best runner on the team right now. Speaking on the FantasyGuru.com podcast, Cosell cites Ball's "burst, fluidity and ability to get skinny at point of attack" as reasons for liking him. Ball is taking part in his first minicamp with the Broncos and told ESPN Denver that his first priority is to protect the quarterback.
Analysis: Earlier this week John Elway compared Ball to Terrell Davis. Between that, Cosell's glowing review and Ball seemingly "getting it" when it comes to his top priority in the offense, the hype machine is in full swing. But it's not necessarily over-hype as the 5-foot-10, 217-pound Ball holds the NCAA Division I record with 83 touchdowns and had a storied career at Wisconsin. Fantasy owners might settle for him as a No. 2 running back or be delighted to have him as a No. 3 running back with a pick between late Round 4 and late Round 5 in seasonal drafts. He'll go about as high in dynasty/keeper league leagues and is a sure-fire Top-5 pick in rookie-only drafts.
News:USA Today reports that Broncos vice president John Elway said on a conference call for season ticket holders that he's fond of rookie running back Montee Ball, who Denver drafted in Round 2. "His running style is a lot like Terrell Davis," Elway said. "Obviously that got us real excited."
Analysis: We hope Ball has a career similar to Davis. The 5-foot-10, 217-pound Ball holds the NCAA Division I record with 83 touchdowns, and he has sleeper written all over him, especially if Willis McGahee and/or Knowshon Moreno is released prior to training camp. If Ball can earn the starting job in Denver he would be considered a No. 2 Fantasy running back with upside. The Broncos offense should be dominant again with Peyton Manning and Co., and Ball could reach double digits in touchdowns. Plan on drafting Ball as soon as Round 4 or 5 in standard leagues, and he's worth a first-round pick in rookie-only formats.
News: The Broncos got the big running back they've been looking for, selecting Montee Ball of Wisconsin in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday. The 5-foot-10, 217-pound back holds the NCAA Division I record with 83 touchdowns. With Willis McGahee coming back from a knee injury and Knowshon Moreno still trying to live up to his first-round-draft status, the Broncos were looking for a big, every-down back. When the 58th pick rolled around, they had two primary choices and went with Ball over Alabama's Eddie Lacy, who was still available. In Ball, they got the Division I record holder in carries (924), rushing yards (5,140) and points scored (500), who said he wanted to pattern his game after Broncos great Terrell Davis.
Analysis: Ball has sleeper written all over him, especially if McGahee is released prior to training camp. If Ball can earn the starting job in Denver he would be considered a No. 3 Fantasy running back with upside. The Broncos offense should be dominant again with Peyton Manning and Co., and Ball could reach double digits in touchdowns. If McGahee is gone, look for Ball to pair with Ronnie Hillman as the backfield in Denver this season. Now, if McGahee stays in Denver, temper your expectations, but Ball is worth drafting with a mid-round pick in seasonal leagues and a first-round pick in rookie-only formats.
News: ESPN reports that former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is motivated by people doubting his ability to play at the next level. They say Im not special," Ball said. They say Im not especially fast. They say Im not especially big. Well, fine, Ill take that as a compliment. Theyre not tearing me apart. Theyre just saying that I dont do one thing special. So what? If youre pretty good all the way around, then you can be a very good running back." Ball rushed for 3,753 yards and 55 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Wisconsin.
Analysis: Ball is talking about the draft gurus and scouts that say hes not a first-round pick. Most say hell go in the second or third round. At 5-11 and 212 pounds, Ball is considered by some to be too small to be the traditional power back and too big to be a pure speed back. We think Ball will be OK in the NFL, but it will depend on where he is drafted and what his role will be. We expect Ball will be a mid- to late-round pick in seasonal leagues and an early-round selection in dynasty formats.