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Montee Ball, Kayvon Webster sign Broncos contracts

The future is now in the Denver Broncos' backfield. Hours after releasing veteran running back Willis McGahee, the team announced Thursday the signing of second-round draft pick Montee Ball.

The Broncos also announced the signing of cornerback Kayvon Webster, a third-round pick.

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Broncos coach John Fox painted McGahee's release as "a conscious decision for us to get younger" at running back. Ball and 2012 third-round pick Ronnie Hillman are expected to form a 1-2 punch, which "may have been a hard pill (for McGahee to swallow)," Fox added, via The Denver Post.

Although Hillman has taken the majority of the first-team snaps this offseason, the Broncos plan to lean on Ball as the lead back once he's comfortable with the playbook. He's an ideal fit for Peyton Manning's offense.

John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, has called Ball a "gem" while invoking comparisons to 1998 league MVP Terrell Davis. Manning reportedly believes Ball possesses the elusive "it" factor similar to former Indianapolis Colts running backs Edgerrin James and Joseph Addai.

Over on defense, Webster, a 32-game starter at South Florida, likely will be eased in on special teams now that the Broncos have added veteran depth in the secondary with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Quentin Jammer.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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