It's been a debate on MHR the last few weeks about when the Broncos should draft a Running Back if at all. I'm one of the people who believe EFX will draft at least one RB in the draft, and will do it rather early, in rounds 1 or 2. I know many believe against taking a RB early because of injury concerns, the idea we can get good backs in the later rounds, or that the RB position isn't even an area of need.
Let me try to persuade you some
Lets look at our current stable of RB's.
Willis McGahee: Had a great year, but he's 30 and was dinged up alot and wore down, down the stretch. He will be entering the last year of his contract, and can hit that over 30 wall anytime. Also Coach Fox has already said he doesnt want McGahee carrying the ball 20-25 times again.
Knowshon Moreno: Fragile, doesnt hit the hole, dances too much, slips and trips on air, and did i mention he's never healthy? Add on legal issues, he's on the roster bubble. I believe he still makes the team, but really depends on how many RB's we bring in.
Lance Ball: A 3rd string RB who is a straight-ahead, lower the head, power runner. I think Fox likes him, but ideally he won't be on the team
Jeremiah Johnson: He got a fan base on here, but he's just not that good. He has speed, but goes down quickly after any contact. If anything, put him on the PS.
Mario Fannin: Alot of people on here are just sold on his potential. Sure he has good size and speed, but coming off a torn ACL and being undrafted as it is, i doubt he makes the team. Would love it if he could, but it's a long shot
Looking at that group, i don't feel comfortable moving forward. I see a group of old, fragile and some not so talented players, and i only can say for sure that one will be on the team this upcoming season. If we had an All-Pro QB, pass happy team, and alot of pass catching weapons, i'd be okay with this. But, we have a raw, run first QB, A run heavy coach and a limited amount of pass catching weapons.
Now i know many of you believe we should add some RB's whether it be through Free Agency or The Draft. Lets take a look at the Free Agency RB's.
- Matt Forte, Ray Rice, Arian Foster: all won't hit the market. Though if the Texans tender Foster, he could be had for a first round pick, and a hefty contract
- Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bush: Both will be over-payed i believe. Lynch has off the field concerns, and i doubt seattle lets him leave. Bush i like, but he wore down, down the stretch and is closer to 30 then i thought, someone will over-pay for him
- Peyton Hillis, Mike Tolbert: I like both, both can play FB/RB. Hillis is a locker room problem, and seems to be a fumble prone diva. I'd love to add tank Tolbert. Should come cheaper, can take Larsen's spot at FB and take some snaps at RB and can be a weapon in the passing game.
- Ryan Grant, Cedric Benson, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis: Grant and Benson are basically another McGahee, so i say pass. BenJarvus will also probably be over-payed, plus RB's coming from NE worry me.
Looking at that group, only player that i would go after is Tolbert, and that still doesnt give us another runner. I'm not a fan of giving big FA contracts to RB's unless they're young and proven runners. I wouldnt mind adding Lynch, but i'd rather spend FA money elsewhere.
Now lets look at the draft
- Trent Richardson: Keep Dreaming
- Lamar Miller 5'11 212lbs: I've mocked him to us many many times. He's one of my favorite players in the draft. Explosive, has power, shifty one cut runner, elusive, and is a homerun threat waiting to happen. He would be perfect compliment to McGahee. Fox has always had one power guy, and one speedy guy. (Stephen Davis - DeShawn Foster, Foster - DeAngelo Williams, Williams - Jonathan Stewart). So if available at 25, i believe Fox will jump on him.
- David Wilson 5'10 205lbs: Another fast elusive, powerful back, but has fumble issues and doesn't hit the hole aggressively. He probably won't go in the first round, but a early-mid 2nd round guy.
- Doug Martin 5'9 220lbs: My second favorite back in the draft behind Miller(outside of Richardson obviously). Would be another perfect compliment to McGahee. He's got speed, not top notch speed, but good enough. Powerful, good hands, great vision and reminds me ALOT of Ray Rice and MJD. His running style and build is very comparable.
- Chris Polk 5'11 225lbs: He really did not impress me at the Senior Bowl. In the game he looked slow and lacked burst, i know that's not his game, but still he just seemed sluggish. Plus, alot of scouts did not like his character. So im a little down on him.
- Bernard Pierce 6'0 218lbs: I think it would be a reach right now to take him in the late 2nd, but i'm excited to see him at indy this week. He's a tall runner who lacks ideal power. Tall runners always worry me, but to be honest, idk much about him to be honest.
Those are the 3 backs i would target in rounds 1-2. There's a few other guys who could go here like a LaMichael James, Isaiah Pead, Cyrus Gray, Ronnie Hillman. My only issue with them is that they're under 200 pounds. Our running style seems to be, between the tackles, lower the shoulder and pound it. I don't think these guys fit that style. More of a 3rd down change of pace guy, which if Moreno is on the roster, we already have one.
Here's some late round guys i'd target too
- Robert Turbin 5'9 215lbs: I really do not know much about the guy, i really want to watch him at the combine. He has good size and speed, great pass blocker and a good receiver. Could be a late round steal. A favorite around here.
- Vick Ballard 5'11 217lbs: He's a fox type of runner. Straight ahead, lower the shoulder, one cut and go guy. I would like to add him to or backfield. I doubt he will be a, starter. But a rotational power guy who can replace McGahee down the road is a possibility. I believe he would be an upgrade over Lance Ball
- Marc Tyler 5'11 230lbs: Another guy like Ballard, a straight ahead, north to south power guy who is tough to bring down. Isn't the fastest guy, but can be an upgrade over Ball
Personally, if these are the only backs we draft, i would be disappointed. We need another guy who can carry the load, opposite of McGahee. I'd draft these guys to be 3rd stringer for now, and hope they develop.
Now looking at John Fox's draft history, he has taken many RB's in the first 2 rounds 02: Foster- 2nd, Kyle Johnson- 5th 05: Eric Shelton - 2nd 06: DeAngelo Williams - 1st 08: Jonathan Stewart - 1st 09: Mike Goodson - 4th
That's 5 running backs taken in the first 4 rounds in a 7 year span. Also remember, he had Stephen Davis for a few years. So a RB taken early, wouldnt be surprising. I know he doesnt have final say here in Denver, but he has an opinion, and Elway knows the importance of a strong running game.