It’s taken until his fifth NFL season, but after being much maligned by fans, Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno is finally starting to look like the guy the Broncos thought they were getting when they drafted him 12th overall back in 2009.
It’s certainly been a long road for Moreno to get to this point. He was banished to the bench after some ball security issues early in the 2012 season, and brought back later in the season only by necessity when Willis McGahee was injured. Moreno was once again lost in the shuffle heading into the 2013 season after the Broncos drafted Ronnie Hillman in the third round of the 2012 draft, and Montee Ball in the second round of the 2013 draft.
But Moreno fought through the logjam and has become Denver’s most valuable running back.
Moreno is the perfect fit for Peyton Manning’s offense. He is a better blocker than either Hillman or Ball, which is essential for protecting an immobile quarterback like Manning. Moreno is also the best pass catcher of Denver’s three backs, making 13 catches this season and averaging nearly 10 yards per catch, making him another threat in Denver’s dynamic passing attack.
Moreover, Moreno is running the ball better than he has before during his time in the NFL. He’s running harder and with more confidence than he ever has before, much like he did during his college days with the Georgia Bulldogs. He’s returned to the form he had in college that made him a first round pick, and the Broncos are finally reaping the rewards.
Moreno is averaging more than five yards per carry, and is on pace for a career-high in touchdowns. Most importantly, he has not lost a fumble through the first five games of the season.
The Broncos will continue to use all three running backs, but there’s no doubt that Moreno has elevated himself above Hillman and Ball, and has become the primary back in Denver’s offense, helping it to become even better than expected.