Broncos RB situation, who fits where now?

Doug Pensinger

With the surprising early cut of RB Willis McGahee, who is left on the Broncos roster and what roles do these players fit in at the moment?

Player

Height

Weight

Year

College

Started as a Pro?

C.J. Anderson

5'8"

224

R

Cal

No

Lance Ball

5'9"

215

5th

Maryland

No

Montee Ball

5'10"

217

R

Wisconsin

No

Jacob Hester

5'11"

235

6th

LSU

Yes

Ronnie Hillman

5'9"

190

2nd

SDSU

No

Jeremiah Johnson

5'9"

200

4th

Oregon

No

Knowshon Moreno

5'11"

200

5th

Georgia

Yes

Out of all the backs, only Jacob Hester and Knowshon Moreno have logged decent time as a starting/feature back in the NFL. Both Lance and Hillman have decent contributions in a RB by committee approach.

Mike Klis suggests both John Fox and John Elway are comfortable with rookie 2nd round pick Montee Ball and 2nd year player Ronnie Hillman as their one two punch. Assuming that is correct, here is the pecking order heading into TC.

Starter

Montee Ball

Main competition: Knowshon Moreno

Montee Ball didn't dazzle with like Hillman in OTA's minicamp, but a runner like Hillman is always going to look better in shorts. When the pads come on, we'll see the value Montee brings to the table. He has the makeup and college experience to carry the majority workload in any committee approach.

If he falters, expect Knowshon Moreno to be the vet that can step up and fill his shoes as the rook takes his bumps.

Change of pace

Ronnie Hillman

Main competition: Knowshon Moreno

Hillman is tailormade for this role even if he put on a bit of upper body muscle in order to gain better strength and balance. Knowshon isn't the blazer Hillman is but he does provide big play ability catching out of the backfield either in the screen game or when he is flexed out as a WR.

Depth 1

Knowshon Moreno

Main competition: Lance Ball

Knowshon could fill in either the starting role or as a guy to play a series or two to give the starter some break. He is a better all around back than Lance Ball and he should provide the Broncos a good insurance policy in case things don't go smoothly at the top two spots.

Lance Ball is capable of stepping up in spot duty or in a pinch as well.

Depth 2

C.J. Anderson, Jeremiah Johnson

Give Jeremiah Johnson the upper hand in a straight up battle considering his time as a Bronco and the familiarity he has with the organization. Still, either of these players is going to have to have one stellar TC in order for them to move up the chart high enough and out of cut danger. Anderson has the fact that he can be placed on the practice squad in his favor, Jeremiah Johnson is no longer practice squad eligible.

Specialist

Jacob Hester

He is currently listed as a FB on the depth chart, but make no mistake he is one of those players that can be used (and has been thus far) in a variety of different positions on the field. His designation means less than what he brings to the table. He can be a short yardage back, a capable backup in case of, a FB that can play more of an H-back role. His skillset is something that is completely unique to the RB situation.

A question of numbers

Four or Five, that is the question? If it's four the locks have to be M. Ball, Hillman, Moreno, and Hester at this point. Remember--Hester's designation is meaningless at this point. If it's five, the locks stay the same with Johnson, L. Ball, and Anderson competing for the final spot.

The number either way has great implications and raises some interesting logistical questions. Do the Broncos then only keep 3 TE? How many WR's, and for that matter linemen? The possibilities are vast right now with unknowns at other positions.

Vonta Leach

The thought crossed my mind when this happened so suddenly that perhaps the savings the Broncos will net from the cut of McGahee's contract can be applied to a future 1 year deal with Vonta Leach. It is intriguing and the timing makes sense. With Hester in that role however and the amount the Broncos figure to be in 11 personnel offensively, I just don't think it is a match made in heaven quite yet.

If it did happen however, expect to see a larger role for the zone blocking system than the hybrid role CH74 suggested or the part time role I've suggested.

You've heard my thoughts MHR, what are yours?

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