When the Denver Broncos selected Montee Ball with the 58th overall pick in this years NFL Draft it signaled a change in the backfield and possibly a slight change in their running scheme. Ball excelled in the one cut zone scheme running game at Wisconsin and with the hiring of Alex Gibbs as an offensive line consultant there will be more of this style back in Denver. Bronco fans will remember Gibbs from his time with the Broncos from 1995-2003, which included back to back Super Bowl victories in 1997 & 98 led by John Elway and Terrell Davis. According to the Denver Post, Ball wasn’t shy in recognizing what makes him effective, saying, “I understand what my strengths are”, “I’m not going to outrun somebody or I’m not going to run around them. I know I need to be a one-cut type running back to get the first down.”
Given the style of running back that Ball is and his ability to pick up the blitz he looks like the replacement for Willis McGahee. Ronnie Hillman figures to see the change of pace touches leaving Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball (the other testicle), Mario Fannin and Jeremiah Johnson to fight for the back up roles and practice squad spot. Montee Ball is also a good receiver out of the backfield which was never a big strength for McGahee, although he did snag 26 passes in 2012. It’s also a good sign that Peyton Manning was quick to start texting Ball about learning the playbook, although Peyton probably texts the 3rd string team chef about working on his spaghetti sauce (detailed would be an understatement when describing the sheriff).
From his 2nd round selection to the bringing in of Gibbs it looks very much like Ball was brought in to be the Terrell Davis to Peyton Manning’s John Elway. What says you? Is Ball the final piece to the Broncos Super Bowl XLVIII puzzle?