There is really just one way to describe Willis McGahee’s 2011 season: awesome—just awesome. The 30-year-old tailback was the main running back in a rushing attack that was the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL.
During the regular season, he ran for 1,999 yards and four touchdowns. He probably would have had significantly more touchdowns if he didn’t share goal line carries with Tim Tebow, whose draw play turned out to be more or less impossible to stop in goal line situations.
Unfortunately, McGahee is not 26 years old anymore, and it was easy to tell toward the end of the season that his body was hurting from all the carries he had this season, which resulted in more fumbles the older the season grew.
There is a need to complement Willis McGahee. Knowshon Moreno is not a bad running back, but he is simply incapable of staying healthy. I do not believe in Lance Ball, but I believe the Broncos will keep Jeremiah Johnson because of his experience with the option offense.
Either way, the Broncos need another running back, and I believe the draft is the way to go. Recent history tells us that you do not have to be an early-round draft pick to be a good running back in the NFL. Arian Foster is probably the best example to support that argument.
Isaiah Pead is well worth a fourth-round draft pick. He is a downhill runner who excels in third down situations, since he is both a good blocker and pass catcher. What impresses scouts the most about the Cincinnati senior is his ability to pick up the blitz.
Pead attacks holes with great quickness. However, he lacks elite speed, so he typically does not break away for big runs. With that being said, the 5’10”, 200 lbs. running back is one to count on the get the yards necessary.
In 2011, Pead averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,259 yards along with 12 touchdowns. He also caught 39 passes for 319 yards and three scores.
He would allow Willis McGahee to stay fresh, and keeping running backs fresh is what John Fox is all about.
Spencer Larsen is currently a free agent, but I expect the Broncos to bring the fullback back to Denver. He vastly improved this year under John Fox and will be a good option at fullback once he has fully recovered from the sprained MCL-injury.
Tight end, Virgil Green, did a decent job at filling in for Larsen while he was injured, so I do not believe there is any crisis with regards to the fullback position.