Montee Ball: How Will Broncos Newest Running Back Fare in the Pros?

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2013

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 1: Running back Montee Ball #6 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs the ball in the third quarter after a block by teammate Jared Abbrederis #4 against the Northern Iowa Panthers on September 1, 2012 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.  Wisconsin defeated Northern Iowa 26-21. (Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

With the 58th pick in the draft, the Denver Broncos add some much-needed youth at running back by selecting Wisconsin's Montee Ball.


Pro Outlook

What you see is what you get with Ball. He isn't exceptionally big and doesn't make a ton of guys miss, but he has excellent vision and will be a reliable weapon at running back. 

The primary concern with Ball is his durability. While he's remained relatively healthy throughout his career, he touched the ball 697 times over the past two seasons. So while he's technically a rookie, he doesn't enter the league with anything close to fresh legs. 

Given the workload he endured at Wisconsin, Ball may not have a long career in the NFL.


Fantasy Outlook

Ball may emerge as a viable option, but keep on eye on how Denver uses its running backs in the preseason. 

Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman are still on the roster, so it's a crowded backfield. At this point, none of them should be considered strong fantasy options.  


Roster Outlook

With four quality running backs on the roster, the Broncos likely need to make a personnel move. 

Hillman is the third-down back, so he isn't going anywhere. So to make room for Ball, the Broncos may need to cut loose either Moreno or McGahee. 

Whoever the Broncos choose as their final three running backs, all three should see a decent amount of work. Ball will simply be a piece of the puzzle and not the go-to guy.


Pick Analysis

The Broncos needed to find an upgrade at running back, but I'm not sure Ball is that guy. Due to his impressive vision, he can be effective, but he's far from a special prospect. 

He will fit in nicely in Denver, but he isn't the feature back the Broncos needed. This may be more of a short-term fix than a long-term answer.

Grade: B-