Prospect: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Grade: 6.9 (Grading Scale)
+Excellent size and bulk, very well put together.
+Strong upper body, uses arms to fight off would be tacklers.
+Balanced through the hole, low center of gravity.
+Looks in excellent shape, gets better as the game progresses.
+Quickness and agility have improved over his career.
-Not an explosive guy in tight areas, builds power/speed more gradually.
-Will not wow you on the stopwatch, probably a high 4.5, low 4.6 guy.
+Runs very angry, not afraid to be physical.
+Attacks the hole with a vengeance, finishes each run.
+Has a nasty stiff arm and can straight run you over, not a guy that you arm tackle.
+Not a dancer, isn’t going to lose yards on many carries.
+Has some elusiveness in the open field, showed an improved juke move from 2011.
+Patient runner, sets up blocks well.
+Record setting production at the collegiate level.
-Hard running style brings up durability concerns – multiple concussions in his history.
-Inconsistent vision, has often missed cutback lanes or opportunities to bounce the ball outside.
-Huge workload – closing in on 900 career carries at Wisconsin.
+Effective running routes split wide and from the backfield.
+Comfortable in the screen game, sets up his blocks and gets north/south.
+Catches the ball with his hands, looks it in before cutting.
+Makes the correct reads in blitz pickup.
-Inconsistent in blocking effort and technique.
+Team Captain for multiple years.
+Hard work ethic, praised by teammates and coaches.
+Respected in the locker room and off the field.
-Trespassing citation and some fights where he was cleared of any wrongdoing are negligible concerns.
Coming into this season, I wasn’t sold on Montee Ball as a top 100 draft prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft. I thought his fantastic offensive line played the major role in his production – it certainly has played a big part – but I have come to appreciate some of the improvements that Ball has made.
If teams can overlook the huge workload on his senior body – talented fourth year running backs are becoming a rare breed in the NFL Draft as many are declaring early – they will find a patient runner that can catch the ball, run the ball inside and outside, and has developed an improved open-field game that can gain some yards on his own.
If I had to make a comparison for Ball, it would be a slightly more explosive BenJarvus Green-Ellis – a very solid NFL back, but not one that will keep defensive coordinators up at night.
Look for Ball’s name to get called sometime late on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Wisconsin vs Nebraska (Big Ten Championship)
-Stopped cold, but second surge picks up the first down – running angry.
-Untouched into the end zone, easy read.
-Finds the cutback lane, makes safety miss in the hole with the juke.
-Spins out of tackle, delivers NASTY stiff arm in the open field – long TD.
Wisconsin vs Michigan State
-Absorbs big hit, stays balanced, runs for five more yards.
-Workhorse early, running behind his pads with a lot of power.
-Making one cut and heading north/south.
-Patience evident on the sweep, let his blocks set up.