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Wisconsin coach: NFL scouts tell me Montee Ball is draft’s top back


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.

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24 Responses to “Wisconsin coach: NFL scouts tell me Montee Ball is draft’s top back”
  1. packfntk says: Nov 12, 2012 6:51 PM

    Ball is a stud and performed with a non-typical Wisconsin offensive line this year. He is a bruising back that I believe will perform well in the NFL.

    That being said I would never touch a RB in the top half of the draft if I were a GM these days.

  2. baloneyjohn says: Nov 12, 2012 6:53 PM

    More proof, the NFL is treating almost all RB as commodities. Run them for 5 years, then plug in someone new.
    Its become a passing league, anyway.
    Too bad, as I remember Jim Brown, Marion Motley for the Browns and all those great Syracuse RB’s.

  3. brenenostler says: Nov 12, 2012 6:54 PM

    The Jets should get him since they basically have no running game.

  4. NakedCowboy! says: Nov 12, 2012 6:54 PM

    Lacy, barner and lattimore are all very good backs… if they declare, ball could very well be teh first back drafted… although i dont see any of them going in round 1…

  5. bird2jasun says: Nov 12, 2012 6:56 PM

    how about Bernard at UNC…..this is a ray rice clone!!!! Perfect balance runner!

  6. InFact says: Nov 12, 2012 7:06 PM

    Mr. Smith:

    Granted, Ball is not Hershel Walker or Tony Dorsett, but tell me another running back who combines Ball’s talents?

    I’ve watch UW all four years of Ball’s tenure.

    I think he’s a worthy 2nd round choice.

  7. vietnambob2473 says: Nov 12, 2012 7:28 PM

    I really like Ball, really reminds me of Willis McGahee

  8. birdsflynorth206 says: Nov 12, 2012 7:30 PM

    Ball has had two concussions this year (1 when he got jumped and 1 against UTEP) there is no way a team is taking him before the 4th round. He might go undrafted just off the concussions alone

  9. profootballwalk says: Nov 12, 2012 7:36 PM

    Ball is at the bottom of the Top 10 running backs this year. And now he has a year more of yards on his wheels. Still a third rounder. He should have taken the money last year.

  10. nathpz says: Nov 12, 2012 7:46 PM

    Well, there was gonna be this guy named Marcus Lattimore who was first, but then a horrible thing happened.

  11. rajbais says: Nov 12, 2012 7:51 PM

    I like Bret Bielema, but he’s a college coach. The majority of them lie and their words can’t always be trusted.

    At least Les Miles is honest about his superstitions and decision to not go to Michigan (then again, Michigan is the most overrated school ever)!!!

    Go Badgers!!!

  12. mrpowers88 says: Nov 12, 2012 7:55 PM

    Were they telling him this before or after Lattimore went down for a year-plus?

  13. fuglyflorio says: Nov 12, 2012 8:13 PM

    Yeah yeah … every college coach touts his players. Not that they care about them … but because it’s a reflection on themselves.

  14. mrlaloosh says: Nov 12, 2012 8:27 PM

    Ball is just another Ron Dayne Badger back. Epic fail.

  15. tombradyallday says: Nov 12, 2012 9:34 PM

    the messed up part is if he doesnt run a 4.3 or 4.4 there gonna say “oh no hes to slow”. even though hes tearin it up with pads on thats just how scouts are

  16. gosuhgo says: Nov 12, 2012 9:36 PM

    More proof, the NFL is treating almost all RB as commodities. Run them for 5 years, then plug in someone new.
    Its become a passing league, anyway.
    Too bad, as I remember Jim Brown, Marion Motley for the Browns and all those great Syracuse RB’s.
    “Becoming a passing league” really grinds my gears man. You know what year the league was most pass-heavy in? 1995. 17 years ago. It’s not like the NFL suddenly went from 66% run to 66% pass. Every year since 1980 there have been more passes than rushes, but it caps out at 57% passing. It has BEEN a passing league for longer than I’ve been alive.

  17. metalhead65 says: Nov 12, 2012 10:02 PM

    I am sure he would be the top back if he ran against top teams the way he runs against programs like IU . let me know when he has those type of games against a top 20 team let alone a top 10 team. or how about against the the team you play in the rose bowl if you go to it again this year. until then stop bragging because you can run over teams like IU who are in the second year with a new coach trying to build a football program you arrogant prick! can’t wait until you play a team that goes for it on 4th and 1 and are up by 30 points or go for 2 points and are up by 28 points with 5 min. left in the game.

  18. dtjano says: Nov 12, 2012 10:06 PM

    Ball, Ellington,Barner. Wouldn’t be surprised if Christine Michael moves up. Really weak RB class.

  19. chris6523 says: Nov 12, 2012 10:14 PM

    As a Badger fan, I won’t buy what Bielema is saying. The guy is full of crap.

    As far as Montee is concerned, he won’t tear up the combine. He’ll have solid numbers, but isn’t going to be the fastest back or the quickest back coming out. He catches the ball well and has good balance and vision. He hasn’t put up the numbers this year that he did last year, but he probably has more highlight reel type plays this year. The prior two years were a lot of running through gaping holes. He’s had to earn more of his yardage this year. I see him as a second or third round back.

    I don’t expect he’ll be a great RB in the pros, but will be solid and might grind out a couple 1000+ seasons.

  20. bleed4philly says: Nov 12, 2012 11:05 PM

    Don’t tell Andy that, he’ll draft him and only give him 3 touches a game

  21. JMB says: Nov 12, 2012 11:07 PM

    At least Les Miles is honest about his superstitions and decision to not go to Michigan (then again, Michigan is the most overrated school ever)!!!

    Go Badgers!!!


    Says the fan of the underachieving badgers… You’re a whopping 14-49-1 against the most overrated school ever! C’mon now; quit playin.

    Monte Ball will be a solid running back in today’s NFL. Good size, decent quickness. He’ll need a good line in front of him, but I have no doubt he’ll be serviceable.

    -GO BLUE!

  22. billsfan1 says: Nov 13, 2012 12:50 AM

    Dayne, Bennett, ball… See where this is going?

  23. udontnohim says: Nov 13, 2012 7:54 AM

    How can anyone be stupid enough to compare Ball to Dayne or Bennett? Everyone knows that Ball has overcome any and all adversity that stepped in his way including losing weight. He has what it takes to make it at the next level. There is no question about that! You don’t know him or football if you think different and compare him to Wisconsin’s past running backs. Learn something about him before you speak billsfan!

  24. udontnohim says: Nov 13, 2012 9:11 AM

    chris6523 Ball is much faster than most people think. His highschool Rivals forty time was a 4.4. He is back at that same weight. He may not be the fastest back coming out in 2013 but he will compete in the combine!! As far as his numbers this year comparing to last year. You would have to be a fool to think ANYONE can match those number two years in a row. I don’t give a darn if its was a SEC back.. NOBODY CAN DO WHAT BALL DID TWO YEARS IN A ROW. That is what makes what he and Barry Sander did so special!!

    Ball is consistant/durable/great vision/great hands/picks up blitz/ HE WILL BE A GREAT BACK IN THE NFL. Most the back that run the 4.3 fortys are much smaller backs. Some will be taken as returners not an every down back. Ball is the best back in 2013 not that Lattimore is out.

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