Is Montee Ball on the Cincinnati Bengals radar?

By James Rapien
Kirby Lee-US Presswire

The Cincinnati Bengals need a running back. Marvin Lewis knows it, Jay Gruden knows it and practically all of Cincinnati should know it. Gruden recently said they need another “play-maker.” Could Wisconsin running back Montee Ball be the missing piece in Cincinnati?

Ball had a stellar career at Wisconsin, to say the least. He holds the NCAA Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision record for most career rushing touchdowns with 77 and rushed for more than 5,000 yards during his four-year collegiate career.

One knock on Ball was his speed. He was clocked at 4.66 in the 40-yard dash during the NFL combine. However, yesterday at his Wisconsin pro day, he was clocked at 4.51. By flashing a little more speed and having a great collegiate resume, some believe he could be moving up on teams draft boards.’s Gil Brandt thinks Ball “looked very good in his workout, and could be the second running back off the board in the 2013 NFL Draft.”

With the raving reviews, Ball could be an option for the Bengals. But is he the shifty play-maker the Bengals need? Despite the improvement in his 40-yard dash, he won’t fool anyone into thinking he’s a track star. He is a workhorse back who excelled in goal line and short-yardage situations. On film, he shows the ability to push the pile and embraces contact, but he isn’t the play-maker the Bengals are missing in the backfield.

If the Bengals drafted Ball, it may raise more questions than answers. Don’t they already have a running back that can be great in short-yardage situations? Benjarvus Green-Ellis has proven he can push a pile and fight for the tough yards. Could the Bengals use a younger, slightly more talented Green-Ellis? Could there be a better option in the draft?

Ball may not be the home-run hitter the Bengals are missing, but he may be an option for them come draft time.

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