Rookie running back Montee Ball should be a touchdown machine for the Denver Broncos this season.
Ball, who the Broncos selected in the second round (58th overall) of this year’s NFL Draft, is entering the perfect situation in Peyton Manning’s offense.
Sure, the Broncos backfield is crowded, but there’s no way Denver drafted Ball just to have him watch from the sidelines. Ball will compete with Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno for the starting spot. Both backs have durability issues and struggle to stay on the field. There’s also speedster Ronnie Hillman and third-down back Lance Ball (no relation).
But, even if Montee doesn’t ascend to the top of Denver’s depth chart, he’ll undoubtedly be the team’s short-yardage and goal line back.
Ball will be a weapon in the red zone and should pile up the touchdowns while defenses are focused on Denver’s triple-threat wide receivers. Ball is a good bet to eclipse double-digit touchdowns even if his carries are limited and he struggles to crack the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season.
The University of Wisconsin product holds NCAA records for rushing touchdowns (77) and total touchdowns (83). Ball scored 55 touchdowns between his junior and senior seasons in Madison. It’d be an understatement to say that Ball has a nose for the end zone.
At 5-foot-10, 214 pounds, Ball is a classic grinder who can get tough yards between the tackles. Four years in the Big 10 was the perfect training ground for Ball, whose punishing running style should make him an invaluable asset for an explosive offense that struggled in short-yardage situations last season.
Last season, Denver averaged just 3.8 yard per carry, fourth-worst in the NFL. Ball should provide the perfect antidote for an offense that made big plays, but lacked a reliable option on third-and-short.
The best case scenario for Ball is that he beats out McGahee and Moreno to become the featured back in one of the NFL’s best offenses. More likely, Ball will split carries with Moreno and McGahee early in the season, and get the bulk of the touches inside the red zone.
In other words, Ball had better work on his touchdown dance, because he’ll be breaking out on a weekly basis this season.