Badger Bits: Montee Ball, as Good as He Ever Was

Mark Cunningham

Montee Ball improved his 40 time at Wisconsin's Pro Day on Wednesday. His draft stock reportedly got a major boost as a result. It shouldn't have. He's as good as he ever was.

Montee Ball ran much better in the 40-yard dash yesterday, and the consensus is that he'll make more money as a result. NFL.com's Gil Brandt wrote that Ball could be the second back taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, though he clocked Ball at a 4.51 and a 4.49, which is a tick or two slower than the 4.46 that has been widely reported. Being the second back taken would likely put Ball in the second round of this year's draft -- third at the latest -- and would validate his decision to return for his senior season quite nicely. After the Combine, most of the opinions that burbled into my Twitter feed said fourth round or later. One-and-a-half tenths of a second are pretty dang important, apparently.

Nevermind the fact that Ball is still the same running back he ever was. It was never any secret that he wasn't a burner. Jack pointed out in his recap yesterday that Ball's first 15-20 yards are more important to his game, anyway. Having a low top gear matters when less when you can shift to it quickly. Ball can do that, and he can catch, and he can block, and, oh my, he can cut back. There is a lot of evidence of this. About 983 career touches-worth.

I don't know if Ball's draft stock really swung two rounds or more because he ran 0.15 seconds on what Brandt said was a faster surface than the turf in Indianapolis. Ball's up-and-down value may have more to do with draft writers, out of necessity, making the intervening weeks between the end of bowl season and April 25 seem more volatile than they actually are. It's nice to think that NFL GMs aren't nearly as fickle.

Ball gave himself some breathing room away from those who take data points as gospel. Now he can just point to his tape, which is all he should have needed to do in the first place. He says he'll be happy just to be drafted. I'm inclined to believe him. Ball will make the most of his opportunity because that is all that he has ever done. He understands that time isn't holding up. Time won't be after him. He's the same as he ever was.

Same as he ever was.

Same as he ever was.*

LINKS

The Only Colors previews Michigan State-Wisconsin pt. 2.

The proper use of a scout team? Why, hacking the starters to bits, of course.

Jared Berggren talks offensive woes, and not getting too trigger happy.

Expansion on the same theme. Moral of the story: Wisconsin won't shy from shooting itself out of its slump, and opponents won't stop them from trying.

Happy trails Chance Stewart. Very unfortunate loss for the Class of 2014. He's still considering Wisconsin, but re-commitments are sort of rare.

Travis Frederick doesn't particularly care what you think about his 40-yard dash.

Marcus Cromartie, Devin Smith and Shelton Johnson share a last supper of sorts.

Jay Boulware wanted to be closer to family.

Wrapping up: A reinterpretation of Tim Brewster's tweets at Mississippi State.

*I watched Stop Making Sense finally

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