Draft status doesn’t matter, Anderson tops Ball on Broncos’ depth chart

AP

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.

42 responses to “Draft status doesn’t matter, Anderson tops Ball on Broncos’ depth chart

  1. That offense is going to be very impressive. You have PFM with the balance a Kubiak system provides. I think those two will blend really well.

  2. So what Denver is trying to say is that the Green Bay Packers are going to be the SUPER BOWL 50 CHAMPIONS.
    That’s what I got out of it.
    #ifyourgoingtosanfrancisco

  3. Elway is not very good in the early rounds of the draft. There have been very few pleasant surprises out of the first three rounds. That includes Ball and especially Hillman.

    But to be fair to Mr. Elway, he has done an exceptional job in the later rounds and free agency both with vets and undrafted rookies.

  4. Beware backs with OLines that outweigh the opposition by 30-50 lbs. Like Wisconsin and Alabama. Their OLines are men against boys in most gms, and their RBs have largely been busts, while most of the OL gets drafted at the top. They’re backs run thru the OL untouched. The kid from Indiana is the best RB in the draft. They had no passing game, yet he put up huge numbers. Love the Pats to get him.

  5. So they should have used the draft pick on Anderson?

    Look you can waste a pick in any slot in the draft. Surely as long as you have a decent started whether a sixth round QB who goes on to be all world, or an un drafted free agent RB. you get a good one and you win.

  6. This is like saying “Hm.. we need a QB to back up Peyton Manning, and we need a linebacker cause our defence is pathetic, let’s take a HB.” Gary Kubiak is going to led them in a hole.

  7. This is Denver though, both they and the Patriots use a multi-headed hydra approach to RBs.

  8. Never draft a running back high in the draft. Trade for one like Buffalo or sign one like the Eagles. IF your going to draft one, never before round 4.

  9. “Trent Richardson” is all you need to whisper in the ear of your GM getting ready to draft a RB.

  10. Never that impressed with Ball. Always seemed to be slow in hitting the hole. Hillman is nice change of pace back but not a three down back. CJ Anderson, cant overlook the break out year he had last season. Guess he is the guy for now. Wish he was a little bigger. Anderson also seems to give Manning the best protection of the three backs.

  11. ariani1985 says:
    Mar 29, 2015 6:03 PM

    I will never forget john elway hoisting the trophy above my packers 🙁
    ________________

    A Vikings fan commenting about the Packers on a Broncos post. Weird.

  12. gomybirdsgo says:
    Mar 29, 2015 7:32 PM
    Never draft a running back high in the draft. Trade for one like Buffalo or sign one like the Eagles. IF your going to draft one, never before round 4.
    ——————————–
    Or, you know… Draft LaDainian Tomlinson in the first round…

  13. natelan says:
    Mar 29, 2015 8:39 PM

    gomybirdsgo says:
    Mar 29, 2015 7:32 PM
    Never draft a running back high in the draft. Trade for one like Buffalo or sign one like the Eagles. IF your going to draft one, never before round 4.
    ——————————–
    Or, you know… Draft LaDainian Tomlinson in the first round…
    —————————
    Or Adrian Peterson. Or Barry Sanders. Jim Brown. Marshall Faulk. Emmitt Smith. I can keep going….

  14. raiderapologist says:
    Mar 29, 2015 5:57 PM
    I don’t know. It could be that Denver just missed on their draft picks.
    —————–
    Dude you’re a raider fan. Is there anyone that’s been worse since the turn of the century?

  15. gomybirdsgo

    Never draft a running back high in the draft. Trade for one like Buffalo or sign one like the Eagles. IF your going to draft one, never before round 4.
    ————————————————————
    The decision is not about where you get the guy, it is about how much of your salary cap you allocate to that position.

    Some teams think it can be filled with short term, stop gap players for short money (Patriots), other teams think you need to spend 10 mil (Bills). Personally I think the Bills made an idiotic move, but what do I know.

  16. Wasn’t Bronco Billy Anderson one of the original singing cowboys?

    He has a natural advantage up there in Denver.

  17. I’m not a Wisconsin fan, so maybe someone who is can add to this, but there wasn’t anything about Ball that screamed he would be a great NFL back. He made good use of the big holes his o-line made, but he didn’t stand out as a back who took or created more than was there.

    Gordon on the other hand took what was there and then took much more. His record-setting game against Nebraska was amazing to watch. I would predict Gordon will have more success in the NFL than Ball. He looked faster and more powerful.

  18. CAL running backs> Bama running backs

    CAL: Marshawn Lynch, Shane Vereen, Justin Forsett, CJ Anderson

    Alabama: Mark Ingram, Eddie Lacy, Trent Richardson

  19. CJ Anderson is a top 5 running back in this league and he’ll prove it this season. People can hate but he was the leading rusher in the last 6 weeks of the NFL season for a very good reason.

  20. Draft status does matter, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman continued to get the nod over CJ Anderson because they were higher picks, even when it was clear who the best back was.

  21. In other words, another overrated Wisconsin RB. Beware Melvin Gordon in the first round delusionists.
    _________________________________________

    As a Badger fan, I will not deny the history of Badger backs not living up to expectations in the NFL. As far as Ball was concerned, I was surprised he got drafted as high as he did. The o-line that Ball ran behind, particularly in 2010 and 2011 were the best the badgers ever had.

    In regard to Gordon, though, I think you have a guy that doesn’t fit the typical Wisconsin back mold. Virtually every back out of UW has had some sort of glaring hole in his game, that Gordon doesn’t. Ball isn’t explosive. James White isn’t very big or fast. John Clay was terribly slow. Dayne was too big. Anthony Davis and Brian Calhoun were way too small. Michael Bennett was the closest thing to an NFL prototype and he was very good until injuries slowed him down. Gordon probably fits what the NFL is looking for better than any of them.

  22. Really interesting how Wisconsin fans are now throwing Ball under the bus. When he came out they were all saying how great he would be and how lucky Denver was to get him.

  23. snowdood163 says: Mar 29, 2015 9:00 PM

    raiderapologist says:
    Mar 29, 2015 5:57 PM
    I don’t know. It could be that Denver just missed on their draft picks.
    —————–
    Dude you’re a raider fan. Is there anyone that’s been worse since the turn of the century?
    —————
    Probably not. I’m sure you meant “any team”, but still, I don’t see how it changes Denver’s draft picks.

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