The Denver Broncos have six selections at present in the 2013 NFL Draft coming up in 10 days. They will pick in the 1st round (28th overall), 2nd (58th), 3rd (90th), 4th (125th), 5th (161st) and 7th round (234th overall) and while Running Back is one position they would like to address, it won’t be in the first round.
Because there isn’t a Running Back in this year’s crop of prospects that deserves a first round grade. Eddie Lacy, out of Alabama is arguably the top rated back this season. I have a problem with labeling him as a first rounder.
Lacy isn’t as good as the guy he replaced; Trent Richardson. He is a little bit bigger, but the thought of him being a featured back is a bit over the top. He’s had numerous injury problems (ankle sprains, turf toe) and has been nursing a hamstring tear for months. I am not talking about his uninspiring workout recently either, as he more than likely wasn’t in peak condition because of the Hammy. He did show up 10 lbs. lighter than his playing weight last year and even though he was “winded” the questionable work ethic that is being tossed around isn’t that big of a concern. But durability is.
I don’t want to see another Knowshon Moreno situation develop. We are all supposed to learn from our mistakes right?
Hamstring injuries are a big deal for Running Backs. Knowshon Moreno has struggled with this issue (as well as multiple groin pulls) for most of his time as a Bronco. I’ve seen the distaste of Moreno from the fans over that on many an occasion. I understand that we’re talking about a guy who was the 12th overall pick here, but outside the top 10, a 1st round draft pick has to be an impact player and a starter in his first season. Inside the top ten, I’d say they have to be a career Pro Bowler. Or Hall of Famer. Knowshon has been neither.
Is this enough to drive Lacy out of the first round? Maybe, maybe not. However, consider this: The Alabama Offensive Line is so good that anyone should be able to run behind it. As I said above, Trent Richardson and even Mark Ingram were both better college backs than Eddie Lacy, and they haven’t exactly lit the world on fire in the NFL. Ingram had 474 and 602 rushing yards with 5 TD’s each during his two seasons. Trent Richardson had 950 yards rushing on a 3.9 average and yes 11 TD’s, good for 7th in the league. Time will tell if he was worth the 4th overall pick. A top five draft pick used on a Running Back is generally reserved for guys like Walter Payton, Tony Dorsett, Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders or Marshall Faulk.
Here’s another note: Doug Martin was selected at 31 and also had 11 TD’s to go with his 1,454 yards rushing. I doubt Eddie Lacy can perform this high and that is why I don’t think he’ll go in the first round.
However, I do believe he is a top 60 draft pick and may even be there when the Broncos are up at #58. That is where I believe Denver will select a Running Back. Of course, the team may end up trading back as they did in 2012. In fact, I actually think it would be the best scenario. There is a good stack of a similar talent level from 35-75 this year and the Broncos could fill a couple of their needs suitably at DT, DE, CB or RB in that area.
The final reason that I think the Broncos won’t pick up a Running Back in the first round is Peyton Manning. It’s been stated repeatedly that the NFL is a passing league. I certainly believe that to be true and you wouldn’t sign a Peyton Manning to a $20 Million contract just to have him hand the ball off would you? When you have weapons like Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen at your disposal, and then add Wes Welker to the mix, players are going to have a hard enough time getting the ball. Not that a running game isn’t important because it is. I just don’t see that it is more important than the Offense Denver already has.
The Broncos had the 4th overall Offense in the league last year according to NFL.com. 5th in passing and 16th in rushing. An offseason later and you add Welker and Louis Vasquez to upgrade Brandon Stokley and insure against Chris Kuper’s career injury status and I just don’t see that overall number receding. The Broncos do need to improve on the 16th ranked rushing Offense, but that wasn’t why they lost to the Ravens in their last game was it? It was because they weren’t getting to the Quarterback and applying pressure.
Quarterback pressure and defending the latest league trend of dual Tight End receiving threats are the two main things the Broncos need to improve the most. That is why I don’t envision our favorite team pulling the trigger on a Running Back with the 28th overall pick. For that matter, Knowshon Moreno shouldn’t have been selected 12th either. We all know the reason for that snafu and we are just about recovered from that dark era in Bronco history thanks to Pat Bowlen and John Elway.
What are your thoughts Broncos Country?
– Kaptain Kirk