Wisconsin’s Montee Ball will be the first running back taken in the 2013 NFL draft. At least, he will be if you believe his coach.
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema told ESPN that he has spoken with NFL scouts about their views on his team, and they’ve always told him that Ball is the best running back prospect in the country.
“I’ve had several guys comment to me this year that they thought he’s the first back to go in this year’s draft,” Bielema said. “Many make the statement without a doubt.”
Ball decided to return to Wisconsin for his senior year after first checking with the NFL draft advisory board and being told he would likely be a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft. As I wrote at the time, it’s hard to see what Ball could do as a senior to change NFL teams’ minds from the way they viewed him as a junior, and Ball’s production this year has declined significantly from last year.
If NFL scouts view Ball as the top running back in the draft, that may mean NFL scouts don’t think there’s much running back talent in this draft. Even if Ball is the first running back selected, it might not be in the first round.