Denver Broncos 2013 Pre-Draft Position Breakdown: Running Backs

Justin Edmonds

Each week leading up to the draft, I will evaluate the current Broncos offensive roster. I will break down QB's, RB's, WR's/TE's, and OL individually and devote a write up to each position group. Scotty Payne will be taking on the defense. By the time the draft comes, you should have a good idea where the Broncos might be looking to add quality starters or necessary depth to round out a very talented roster.

I will present information on each player as it relates to their:

1) Contract
2) 2012 Production
3) Likely place on 2013 Depth Chart/Roles


The goal will be to determine what potential holes the Broncos need to fill on the current roster and whether or not that position group has a low, moderate, or high need heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. Next up are the Running Backs.

The Broncos currently have 7 RB's on the depth chart. They are Lance Ball, Mario Fannin, Jacob Hester, Ronnie Hillman, Jeremiah Johnson, Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno.

Contracts

Player

Draft Position

Duration

Max Amount

Terms

UFA

2013 Cap Hit

2013 Dead $

2014 Cap Hit

2014 Dead $

Lance Ball

Undrafted

1 yr

1.323 million

No bonus,

2013 base salary: 1.323 million

2014

1.323 million

None

N/A

N/A

Mario Fannin

Undrafted

3 yrs

1.180 million

10 K signing bonus,

2013 base salary: 405 K

2014

408 K

3.3 K

N/A

N/A

Jacob Hester

69th overall, 2008

2 yrs

1.415 million

No bonus,

2013 base salary: 715 K

2014

715 K

None

N/A

N/A

Ronnie Hillman

67th overall, 2012

4 yrs

3.000 million

690 K signing bonus, 2013 base salary: 515 K

2016

687 K

518 K

742 K

None

Jeremiah Johnson

Undrafted

1 yr

480 K

No bonus,

2013 base salary: 480 K

2014

480 K

None

N/A

N/A

Willis McGahee

23rd overall 2003

4 yrs

9.5 million

2 million signing bonus, 2013 base salary: 2.5 million

2015

3 million

1 million

2 million

None

Knowshon Moreno

12th overall, 2009

5 yrs

17.075 million

4.160 signing bonus, 2013 base salary: 1.7 million,

2014

3.287 million

2.342 million

2.065 million

None

- Only Ronnie Hillman and Willis McGahee have contracts that extend past 2013.

- Both McGahee and Moreno have the highest cap hits in 2013. Willis has less dead money on the books than Knowshon.

- Lance Ball has no dead money, (nothing guaranteed, no bonus) so I'm guessing there is some magical date he can be cut without any consequence.

2012 Production

Player

Rushes

YDS

Avg

TD

Fum

Lost

Rec

YDS

Avg

TD

<2 Rush

<2

YDS

<2 Avg

Ball

42

158

3.8

1

1

1

7

61

8.7

1

7

10

1.4

Fannin

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

Hester

17

81

4.8

2

0

0

1

7

7.0

0

3

10

3.3

Hillman

85

330

3.9

1

2

1

10

62

6.2

0

9

22

2.4

Johnson

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

McGahee

167

731

4.4

4

5

4

26

221

8.5

0

28

80

2.9

Moreno

138

525

3.8

4

1

1

21

167

8.0

0

20

44

2.2

- Fumbles as in McGahee fumbles a lot--about once in every 33 rushes. Don't like seeing Hillman have two fumbles in that limited amount of touches.

- Hester and McGahee were the only backs to average more than 4 yards per carry. Ball and Moreno were identical in this regard, Hillman was a touch better.

- I include a stat that looks like this <2 That is all rushes in situations where a first down was 2 yards or less to convert. Jacob Hester and Willis McGahee fared the best. I'm not sure which is funnier, the fact that Ronnie Hillman was given the rock 22 times in this situation or that he averaged better than Lance Ball. This is a stat that needs universal improvement, and hopefully a healthy line will help that.

Depth Chart/Roles for 2013

1) Moreno/McGahee

2) Ronnie Hillman

3) Rookie/UDFA

4) Jacob Hester

Either McGahee or Moreno is getting cut this training camp MHR. McGahee has age, injuries, and fumbleitis to go against him, not to mention he dropped some key checkdowns in important situations. Moreno has injuries and inconsistencies going against him. He helped his cause out last season. McGahee gives you the power and Knowshon gives you the versatility. Whoever wins this TC battle wins their salary in 2013.

Ronnie Hillman has a lot to prove and I hope for his sake the Broncos don't pound him inside stubbornly like they did last year. This isn't his bag, get him out on the perimeter and in space.

If the rookie is drafted pretty early he might push for the lead back role as the season progresses. But for now let's assume he has a learning curve and faces the uphill battle of earning Peyton Manning's trust.

Hester makes it because of his size and power. He can also flex into the FB spot (which is missing on the depth chart right now) and can also play special teams. His spot should be safe.

For the legions of Bronco fans to whom Jeremiah Johnson/Mario Fannin are folk heroes, keep dreamin'. If they haven't cracked the rotation yet, they probably aren't going to next year.

If you thought I forgot to mention Lance Ball, you're wrong, he stinks. He's backup in case someone goes down in camp. He gets cut and possibly resigned if someone goes down. At least that's the way it should be. Somewhere in a bank vault is incriminating evidence against either Pat Bowlen, John Elway, or John Fox. 2-1 says it involves "The Gimp"

2013 Draft Need: HIGH

With McGahee and Hillman as the only players with contracts after this year, the primary role being contested by two (for different reasons) inconsistent backs with extensive recent injury histories, a scat back, and a role player, this position screams for the need to draft someone to take over the primary role. I wouldn't believe in Elway saying Hillman can do it and neither should you. The Broncos will draft a RB this year guaranteed.

Next up? The Offensive Line

GO BRONCOS!!!

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