Former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball received just about every honor and accolade while in the NCAA. Despite this, NFL scouts never viewed Ball as a top running back at the next level.
After a poor Combine 40 time, critics were assured that the former Heisman contender would not be a factor in the league. The one factor they did not add in, was Denver Broncos head coach Jon Fox.
"I don't put as much into speed times on running backs as maybe some other people do," Fox said. "That's all nice, but how many guys are breaking 80 yards anyway? The league is too fast."
This is one of the many glowing things that Fox had to say about his rookie running back.
Last season, the Broncos were faced with a very similar situation, involving San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman. Hillman was a stud at a smaller school, and proved that he could carry the load in crucial playoff games.
While Hillman showed he had the talent, Fox never trusted him with the amount of carries that he is giving Ball this season. This is clearly because lead-horse running back Willis McGahee is declining in age, and Hillman seems to be phased out of the offense with Ball's addition.
Just a quick blurb; if Hillman is getting phased out, Knowshon Moreno's role in this offense is close to none. The former Georgia stud is now but an afterthought, and after still struggling with an injury in OTA's, this is the last Bronco fans will be seeing of Moreno.
Ball is most likely going to be the rookie running back with the most impact, barring an injury, in 2013. Even with Willis McGahee running the show, Ball will see more than enough opportunities in the Denver backfield.
If Ball can produce, and be used as a No. 1 running back, McGahee, Hillman, and Moreno all become expendable for the Broncos. With one of the most dominant passing attacks in the NFL and a dominant defensive unit, adding an effective run game could prove to be fortuitous in Denver's hopes at hosting the Lombardi.