Montee Ball is the NCAA’s career touchdown leader, the recipient of the 2012 Doak Walker Award, and an overall well-rounded running back who was a force out of Wisconsin’s backfield for the past two seasons.
Those all make up the second reason why Montee Ball is an early favorite to be selected as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
When Peyton Manning himself said that the Broncos are “going to count on him in a big way,” it demonstrated that Denver is very serious about their second round pick.
Manning’s arrival at The House That Elway Built brought along a powerful offense that saw the Broncos rank 5th and 6th in the NFL in passing and rushing respectively, and without help from the 8th ranked scoring defense, Denver would have likely been in more shootouts to enhance their stats. Barbara Streisand would push for 1000 yards behind a unit that rated 3rd in Pro Football Focus’s 2012 offensive line rankings, putting Ball in great position for his rookie year.
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Willis McGahee is a fine NFL running back. With 10 years under his belt, though, he is the RB equivalent of the Rolling Stones. Knowshon Moreno is coming off (another) injury, and second-year runner Ronnie Hillman is explosive but lacks the skills to be a full-time back. The Broncos backfield may be loaded with recognizable names, but the job is Ball’s for the taking.
The Broncos sport one of the NFL’s best receiving corps in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and newcomer Wes Welker, and all three will be catching passes from the incomparable Manning. Opposing defenses will be quivering at the sight of such an explosive aerial attack, giving Ball all the room he needs for a breakout rookie campaign.
Denver would have a hard time putting someone in the backfield who wouldn’t see some degree of success, and if Ball reaches his potential he can be added to the long list of offensive threats the Broncos will have at their disposal every Sunday. Ball can be an effective inside and outside runner, and the holes should be aplenty as Peyton goes to work dissecting helpless defenses.
If he continues to work diligently this offseason and adjusts to NFL play, there aren’t many rookies who find themselves in a better position to explode in 2013.