In 2013, the Broncos used a second-round draft pick on Montee Ball, and signed C.J. Anderson as an undrafted free agent. Two years later, there’s little doubt which of them is the better running back — and it’s not the one everyone thought heading into the draft.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak has confirmed that he views Anderson as the starter heading into Organized Team Activities.
“He made a big jump as a player, and I think he’s earned the right to walk in to the offseason program — the OTAs — and line up as our starter,” Kubiak said. “But he’s got to continue to earn it on a daily basis. I think he’s shown he has all the ability to be an excellent starter in this league, so we’re really looking forward to working with him.”
So where does that leave Ball? Splitting backup reps with Ronnie Hillman, a 2012 third-round pick. Kubiak said both Ball and Hillman will get their chances, but Anderson is the man right now.
“I think all three of those guys . . . have all kind of had their little spurts of success with the club when they’ve had their opportunity,” Kubiak said. “But they’re all young. Who’s going to be the bell cow, who’s going to play every down, who’s going to be the three-down player, they’ve got to sort that out. C.J. has shown the flashes of doing that.”
With the draft just a month away, the Broncos may be a cautionary tale for teams thinking about spending high picks on running backs. It’s the undrafted Anderson who’s atop the Broncos’ depth chart, and a second-round pick and a third-round pick competing to back him up.