Montee Ball: Broncos won't hand me starting job


Broncos running back Montee Ball said in February that he expected to play a "huge role" for Denver this season, but he isn't under the impression the team will award him the starting job without a fight.

"I know for a fact they're not going to hand it to me. They're going to make sure we all get our opportunities throughout camp and throughout OTAs, but it's going to be who's the most productive," Ball said this week, per's Jeff Legwold. "But for me, my mentality is that it is my job."

Build your own mock draft:
Make your best guesses here for all 32 picks of the first round of the NFL Draft and you could win a trip to attend the 2014 NFL Kickoff game. Play now ...

The departure of Knowshon Moreno all but paved the way for Ball to shift into the bell-cow role in Denver's backfield. He called the roster shuffling a "great opportunity for me and the other running backs to step up to the plate," but it was Ball who outpaced Moreno down the stretch last season, piling up 393 rushing yards (5.4 yards per carry) to Moreno's 375 (3.9 YPC) from Week 13 through the Super Bowl.

Broncos general manager John Elway once had high hopes for Ronnie Hillman, but we'd point to C.J. Anderson as the more likely handcuff candidate.

Ball was a workhorse at Wisconsin, amassing 924 carries for 5,140 yards and 77 touchdowns on the ground over four seasons. Elway labeled him a Terrell Davis clone last spring and Denver's current quarterback, Peyton Manning, praised Ball's "work ethic" and "mental capabilities to handle the workload."

Barring a stunning tumble in the lead up to September's opener, Ball is poised for major production in Denver's quest to return to the Super Bowl.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks out the crystal ball and predicts the potential surprises that could shake up the NFL Draft.