College football fans know Wisconsin's Ball as he's been one of the most productive runners in the NCAA during his time with the Badgers. Now he gets to take his game to the next level with a team he grew up cheering for.
Ball told ESPN Denver that he's been a Broncos fan since he was seven years old. His excitement to join the Broncos is evident in the interview so he should give his all for this team when they get to training camp.
Ball is your classic grinder who can pick up tough yards between the tackles. While not creative or elusive, Ball is the type of back who loves to initiate contact and strike defenders first. He runs with good leg drive and determination.
Ball most always falls forward after contact and does not give up after he's hit. He loves to jump cut but sometimes is caught going laterally too much.
Speed is not the name of his game. And if he gets to the second level, Ball can be chased down from behind.
He should become a favorite of the coaching staff because he's a vocal leader with a team first attitude. His nose for the end zone will also come in handy. Ball finished his career as the NCAA leader in rushing touchdowns (77) and total touchdowns (83).
Pass protection is a must for rookie running backs and it's an area that Ball will need to focus on.
The Broncos have Peyton Manning guaranteed at the price of $40 million over the next two years. They can't afford to have Manning knocked out of a game because a running back missed a block. Learning how to pass protect is going to take awhile so Ball may not see much time on passing downs this year.
However, it's clear the Broncos now have their running back duo in Ball and Hillman.
They can use Ball on rushing downs and short yardage situations. And when the team is in an obvious passing situation they can turn to Hillman as their play guy and primary receiver out of the backfield.
But the addition of Ball calls the future of Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno into question. The day may come when Denver has to make some tough choices about these two veterans.
The Broncos will have a competition for spots on the depth chart in training camp, but it's clear this team is expecting Ball to be the starter sooner rather than later.
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