Why Knowshon Moreno Is the Hottest Running Back on Free-Agent Market

David Cattai@@DavidCattaiContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2014

Knowshon Moreno will be a hot commodity on the free agent market.
Knowshon Moreno will be a hot commodity on the free agent market.Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

NFL Free Agency is always a hot topic, especially with the season coming to an end. Many running backs who changed teams last season struggled, while there were a few who performed above expectations. Every team is looking for a player to become their factor back for the upcoming season. After a breakout season, Knowshon Moreno will be the hottest RB on the free-agent market.

Let's get the criticism of Moreno out of the way.

Some may say that rushing for 1,000 yards this season was due to Peyton Manning running the offense for the Denver Broncos. Moreno has lost 10 fumbles since coming into the NFL. Moreno isn't consistent enough to be an every down RB.

Those three criticisms actually show why Moreno is going to be a highly sought-after free agent.

The 26-year-old Moreno has fumbled once in 241 rushing attempts this season. You may remember that he fumbled four times with more rushing attempts in his rookie season of 2009. Moreno continues to improve when running the football. He has gone from a RB that holds the ball wide to a sure-handed RB that holds the ball high and tight.

Other than running for 224 yards against the New England Patriots in Week 12, Moreno did not rush for over 100 yards in any game. It's pretty tough to do that when you are averaging 13 to 15 carries per game. The Broncos offense was focused on spreading the field and exploiting defenses through the air. But when Moreno's number was called to run the ball, he did it with efficiency. He was the perfect balance for a Manning-led passing attack.

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Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Moreno started in all but one game this season, which is the first time he has done that in his brief career. Health is the biggest key for a running back. Moreno dealt with his own issues at the beginning of his career. His best years are ahead of him.

What Moreno brings to the football field is the last aspect of this analysis. Speed, physicality and versatility will separate him from the rest of the backs during free agency.

Moreno can burst through a hole in the defense and break out for a big run on any occasion, just ask New England. He can also be a physical back while running. Moreno doesn't spend time running to the outside, looking to turn a corner. He pushes his way through the defense and keeps pushing until the defense breaks down. That's when Moreno is at his best.

He can also help out in the passing game. Moreno recorded 548 yards as a receiver on 60 receptions. With NFL offenses becoming more versatile, having a versatile RB to play on all downs is important. Moreno has shown that he can do that.

It is still uncertain whether or not the Broncos are looking to bring back Moreno. If he does hit the market, however, then he will be a hot commodity.


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