Montee Ball (@MonteeBall)
Montee Ball’s stats say it all. Ball holds the NCAA’s all-time rushing and total touchdown records. Ball’s 2011 season should be considered one of the all time greatest NCAA rushing season’s in history. On just over 300 rush attempts Ball rushed for over 1,900 yards and an astounding 33 touchdowns. And in 2011 alone he set six different school, conference, and NCAA season records. Over the course of his career at Wisconsin, Ball scored a record total of 83 touchdowns, 77 of which are rushing, also a record. Although in 2012 he did not have quite the season as he did in 2011, Ball still rushed for an impressive 1,800 yards and 22 TDs.
In April’s draft, Ball was selected in the 2nd round by the Denver Broncos. The Broncos released 2012 starting RB Willis McGahee in the offseason. Knowshon Moreno, the only other potential starting RB on the Broncos’ depth chart has battled injuries his entire career and has never proved he deserves the starting position. In the past four years the Broncos have lacked a work horse RB who can handle a large number of carries, until now. Ball showed in college that he can handle taking over 20 carries for the course of a season, and still put up video game numbers. The Broncos are hoping they have another RB on their hands who they can emulate “TD”.
As a Buckeye fan I was able to see a lot of Ball. He is a strong runner, with quick feet. He is not as flashy, or as fast as other running backs, but he can make even the most technically sound defenders look like bench warmers with his juke moves. And if he gets into the open field, it’s “see ya never”. Ball has a running style that will work in the NFL, comparable to Arian Foster, although not as big physically. In the same offense as Peyton Manning and their stable of WRs he will be in a low pressure role. He won’t need to run it the 20-25 times a game he did in college, but because most defenses will be defending the pass against the Broncos I expect Ball to immediately make an impact in this offense.
While the 2013 draft did not feature many of the perpetual stars that are usually in each draft there were a few potential stars. While the QB position seems to always have one or two potential ROY candidates, this year, not so much. I feel like the Jets reached with Geno Smith, and the only other potential impact starters I saw out of this class include Montee Ball, Green Bay’s RB Eddie Lacy, Cincinnati’s TE Tyler Eifert, and RB Gio Benard (who will share carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis), and St. Louis’ WR Tavon Austin.
The 2013 NFL Offensive ROY will be Montee Ball over Lacy or Austin. While Lacy and Austin are both in roles that will allow them to succeed, and they are projected starters, Ball will be the most successful in my eyes. Peyton hasn’t had the caliber of a RB that he has in Ball since “The Edge”, Edgerrin James. As a rookie, you couldn’t ask for a better leader than Manning and I expect Peyton to take full advantage of having Ball in his huddle.