The Big Question: Will Montee Ball spell the end of Willis McGahee's Broncos career?
In Around the League's email chain discussing which rookie running back would have the biggest impact, Marc Sessler suggested Montee Ball would make Willis McGahee expendable in Denver before the start of this season. Gregg Rosenthal seemed to agree, pointing out that McGahee is turning 32 and coming off both a compression fracture and a torn medical collateral ligament.
Last year's usage patterns tell us Moreno should be more worried than McGahee. Moreno didn't even dress on game days for the majority of the first three months while McGahee was given an extra-long leash as the bell cow despite fumbling issues.
Throw in head coach John Fox's demonstrated preference for veteran backs, and McGahee's roster spot should be safe as long as his knee cooperates. Fox's teams have drafted DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, DeShaun Foster and Hillman in the first, first, second and third rounds respectively. Not one of them was trusted to be any more than a complementary back as a rookie.
Fox would be going against his own best instincts if he installed Ball as the Week 1 starter.
- The Broncos boasted the league's best run defense in the second half of last season, and it should be even better this year. Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton is a true run-plugging nose tackle, and vice president of football operations John Elway compares first-rounder Sylvester Williams to a better version four-time Pro Bowler Trevor Pryce.
- Interesting but ultimately meaningless trivia: Fox's teams have drafted three of the last four players to have at least three sacks in a game against Alabama. The latest is fifth-round edge rusher Quanterus Smith from Western Kentucky, who is coming off a late-season anterior cruciate ligament tear.