Montee Ball ended his career at Wisconsin as the NCAA's career touchdowns leader and likely the most productive running back the Badgers have had since Ron Dayne. An all-around back known primarily for power and workhorse status, Ball also has exceptional vision and cutback ability, as well as excellent hands in the passing game and impressive durability considering the abuse he took over his four years at UW.
Had he perhaps, say, won the Heisman Trophy in 2011 instead of finishing as a finalist, maybe he would've been a more highly touted prospect. He probably would've left after his junior year, in fact. But in actuality, Ball received a third-round grade from the NFL draft advisory committee, which he had already stated would not be strong enough to make him forego his senior season.
All this is to say Ball got drafted around where we expected he would, despite knowing he probably could've justified higher selection. The Denver Broncos drafted him in the second round, No. 58 overall.
Broncos!!!!— Montee Ball (@M_Ball28) April 27, 2013
We've picked Wisconsin RB Montee Ball. Good size back who had tremendous production in college. Will add great dimension to run game.— John Elway (@johnelway) April 27, 2013
@m_ball28 my man!!!!!!!!!! I see you brother! Congrats!— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) April 27, 2013
Just Landed great to see Montee Ball got drafted by his favorite team. Following in the footsteps of Terrell Davis. Congrats— Thomas Hammock (@CoachHammock) April 27, 2013
Ball enters the NFL with 924 rushing attempts to his name, with a 5.6-yards-per average and 83 total touchdowns to his name. His senior year was somewhat "down" from his purely brilliant junior campaign -- he rushed for 1,830 yards and 22 touchdowns on 356 carries (5.1 yards per), down from 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns on 307 carries (6.3 yards per) in 2011.
While being selected in the NFL Draft is special for anyone, Ball's landing spot had additional significance, as the St. Louis native grew up a fan of Terrell Davis and the Denver Broncos.
Ball should challenge for playing time immediately in Denver, but will have to compete with veteran Willis McGahee, and former first round pick Knowshon Moreno. McGahee recieved the most carries for the Broncos last season with 167 for 731 yards, but he'll turn 32 in October. Moreno was highly thought of coming out of Georgia in 2009, but has struggled to stay healthy, and when on the field hasn't been the elite back the Broncos thought they were getting when selected him with the 12th overall pick.
Denver head coach John Fox has been around the NFL for a long time, and views Ball as a three down back for the Broncos.
"Montee is a productive player with excellent feet and vision," Fox said. "We view him as a three-down back that will be a great fit. He has top-flight character, and we're pleased to add him to the Broncos."