Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball is primed to become the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year in 2013. With the early picks in the draft on the offensive side of the ball being linemen, and no rookie quarterbacks guaranteed of being starters to begin the season, the race for offensive rookie of the year will be as wide open as it’s ever been. When the season starts, every rookie will have a fair shot to win the award, but there are several reasons why Ball should be expected to win it.
First, Ball will have the opportunity to play, which is obviously essential. After seeing Ball in offseason workouts, the Broncos were quick to cut Willis McGahee, indicating that they will make Ball the starter. He may have to share carries to a certain extent with Ronnie Hillman, but Hillman isn’t a threat to take over the duties of the full-time running back. Knowshon Moreno could pose a threat to Ball’s playing time as well, but if the Broncos thought Moreno was a potential starter, they wouldn’t have drafted Ball. This means that Ball should get the bulk of the carries throughout the season, giving him plenty of opportunities to state his case for rookie of the year.
Not only does Ball have an opportunity to play, but he’s also with a team that’s putting him in position to succeed. He is stepping right into one of the best offenses in the NFL, an offense that is orchestrated by one of the best quarterbacks the game has ever had. Ball will be the least of the problems opposing defenses face when they go up against Peyton Manning, as well as one of the best wide receiver trios in the league. Although Denver is most dangerous when they’re passing the ball, their offense does tend to be balanced in order to set up play action, so Ball will be sure to get consistent touches. Ball will also be running behind an established offensive line, while playing for an organization with a rich history of successful rookie running backs.
The final thing Ball will need to win rookie of the year is an impressive stat line, and he should have no trouble putting that together. Ball will certainly get a bulk of the carries for the Broncos, and he has the body type that can handle as many carries as the Broncos want to give him in a given week, which means there should be no cap to the amount of yards Ball could potentially gain on the ground this season, especially with Manning saying earlier this offseason that Ball would be utilized and that Denver trusts he will come through for them. Furthermore, the Broncos are a team that should be in the red zone quite frequently, where they may look to Ball to finish off drives for them, and if Ball can do that, he’ll accumulate a high number of touchdowns scored, which would undoubtedly stand out in the rookie of the year race.
While the offensive rookie of the year award may appear to be wide open, there are several reasons that point to Ball being in great position to win the award. If Denver’s offense is as good as they are expected to be, and Ball plays the type of role he’s expected to play in their offense, he should be able to accomplish everything he needs to in order to walk away with the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award at season’s end.