Willis McGahee said it was coming--the Broncos drafting another running back to come in and take his job.
It happened a little earlier than most expected, but McGahee is going to have to fend off the NCAA's all-time leader in rushing TDs, Wisconsin's Montee Ball.
Ball doesn't blow me away--he's not as electric as most NFL running backs. However, he's a solid runner. He's quicker than he is fast; further, he's got a nice little jump cut and instincts for daylight. Clearly, the guy has a feel for the end zone. Of course, a lot of guys could find the end zone running behind Wisconsin's huge line.
Ball comes with a lot of wear on the tires. He plugged away so often in college, one wonders if he's got much left in the tank, even at the age of 22. During his last two seasons at Wisconsin, Ball has averaged 332 carries.
Here's some tape of Ball from last year against Ohio State:
The tape is honestly hard to grade, because Ball is rarely touched until he's well past the line of scrimmage. Again, this is what happens when you have a huge line. Still, check out the tape at the 3:09 mark if you're wondering why the Broncos drafted him. See the jump cut? That, my friends, is a thing of beauty.
Mike Mayock brought up exactly that point in Ball's defense. Under Peyton Manning, he's not going to be doing much more than jump cutting on zone stretch plays, and chunking off four yards per carry.
This, he can do. If he learns to pass block and pass catch in Denver's offense, he's going to stay on the field as the Broncos play more hurry up.
What does this mean for Willis McGahee, Ronnie Hillman, and Knowshon Moreno? McGahee isn't getting any younger, Hillman isn't getting any bulkier, and Moreno, well, he's probably not getting any better.
Lance Ball? He just happens to share the same last name. You know what's happening with him.