NFL Draft: Montee Ball Scouting Report
Montee Ball has been one of the more productive RB’s in the NCAA the past several seasons, and continues in a long-line of NFL caliber RBs who come from the University of Wisconsin.
As a sophomore in 2010, Ball was in a crowded backfield and still finished with 996 yards and 18 TDs despite splitting carries with James White and John Clay.
Last season he gave Barry Sanders single-season TD record of 37 a run, while finishing with 33 and 1,932 yards rushing. Ball also proved valuable as a pass catcher and finished 4th on the team in receptions with 24 catches, 306 yards, and 6 TDs.
After finishing 4th in the Heisman last season, Ball comes into 2012 as one of the front runners yet again for the most prestigious award in College Football. Named to multiple preseason All-American 1st teams, Ball should continue his climb in the record books in his last year in Madison
Grade: 2nd Round
- Has the size of a three down RB in the NFL
- Very durable
- Constant production on a game-to-game basis
- Good initial quickness. Hits holes hard and is a decisive one-cut runner
- Runs with good pad level and balance
- Will run through arm tackles with ease
- Keeps legs churning and will move piles
- Gets the tough yards, and yards after contact that smaller backs wouldn’t get
- Capable receiver and has shown improvement in this facet of his game
- Solid vision, but needs to prove he can find secondary running lanes after initial hole isn’t there.
- NFL Caliber Offensive line at Wisconsin assisted in his efficiency
- A lot of wear and tear on his body; Will most likely finish his career with around 750 carries
- Has initial burst off the L.O.S. but lacks a 2nd gear and will get caught from behind
- Not a threat to go the distance when he bounces runs outside, especially in the NFL
- Willing in pass protection, but defiantly has rooms to improve. Takes bad angles at times on pass rushers
I think too many will rush to say that Ball has elite vision as a RB. I think it’s solid, but after watching some games from last season there were multiple occasions when the first running lane wasn’t there and he failed to find another option. I believe it’s one of the biggest things he needs to improve on for him to find success in the NFL.
Another concern will be the amount of carries he will of amassed. If he stays healthy, Ball should come close to the 300 carry mark once again and will finish with around 750 carries in his career. That’s an awful lot for such a young runner.
Ball is my second ranked senior RB right now, but defiantly has the skill set to move up the rankings as the season progresses. He lacks the speed and true game breaking ability to be considered a first round back, but is a solid second day selection and could be a feature back on an NFL team with a solid Offensive line. Will fit best in a Zone-Blocking scheme like the Houston Texans run. He will excel in short yardage and goal-line work where he can plant his foot and hit the hole with power and strength.
Ball was recently injured when he got jumped on campus. He was hospitalized with head injuries, so keep that in mind to see if it hinders his game in any way.
Jeremy Cabler covers the NFL Draft and College Football for Rant Sports. Check out his Scouting Reports