Montee Ball Wisconsin RB Scouting Report

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Montee Ball (Via www.usatoday.com)

 

By: PFC Draft Writer Matt Moore (@Matt23Moore)

Overview:

Coming out of four years at the University of Wisconsin, Montee Ball may have one of the most impressive resumes not only this year, but in the history of college football. Ball was expected to be redshirted his freshman season in 2009, but after four games he started to see action on the field. By the end of the season Ball was recognized as the Badger’s backup running back and had rushed for the second most yards on the team-391 yards on 98 carries. As a sophomore, Ball remained the team’s backup running back until the final four games of the season. He showed promise in these final four games by rushing for over 125 yards in each. Ball ended the 2010 season four yards short of 1,000 yards and led the team with 18 rushing touchdowns. Ball’s junior season in 2011 was nothing short of phenomenal. With 39 total touchdowns, he tied the NCAA single season touchdown record set by Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State in 1988. Those 39 touchdowns shattered the previous Big Ten single season touchdown record by 13. He also rushed for 1,923 yards, which ranked 22nd in the NCAA record book and 7th in the Big Ten all time. Amazingly, Ball scored a touchdown every 8.5 carries in 2011. When it was all said and done, Ball finished as a finalist for the Heisman trophy as well as the Doak Walker Award (given to the NCAA’s most outstanding running back), and was a consensus all American. In the summer between Ball’s junior and senior year, he sustained injuries from what police called “an unprovoked assault” that occurred a few blocks from Wisconsin’s main campus. Perhaps in part due to these injuries and Wisconsin only returning two offensive linemen from the previous 2011 season, Ball’s senior 2012 season was a minor drop off. Nevertheless, he finished with an impressive 1,830 yards on the ground and 22 rushing touchdowns. Ball was also awarded with the Doak Walker award in 2012, which he was a finalist for but did not win in 2011.

Strengths:

It is hard to gage Ball’s strengths and weaknesses because, in many aspects, he is about average. His size is not overly impressive, standing 5’11’’ 225, yet he is not too small. His speed is not tremendous, however he is not slow. His forty yard dash times range from 4.66 to a 4.46. And, while he does have good quickness between the tackles, making people miss at the next level needs to be a point of emphasis for him at the next level. One thing Ball does stand out in is strength. It typically takes more than one person to take him down. Ball also brings a lot of experience into the NFL. He was a four year letter winner at Wisconsin and was either first or second in rushing for the Badgers throughout his college career.  While at Wisconsin he was asked to carry the ball a ton, 924 times to be exact, which has greatly helped increase Ball’s stamina. He stays in games for extended periods of time and will remain consistent throughout the whole game.

Weaknesses:

Ball’s experience in college can also be construed as a negative. Four years of college football and almost 1,000 carries can take its toll on a running back’s body. Although Ball has remained clear of any serious injuries on the field, some may see his high amount of wear-and-tear as an issue.  His open field running ability could use some work. Often times, Ball appears indecisive when he breaks into the second level. He is often unable to make the final tackler miss to break off a big run. More straight away speed would help Ball, but it appears as if he is working towards that. During his pro day at Wisconsin, Ball ran a 4.46 40 yard dash, which is a great improvement from his combine time of 4.66.

Running Style:

Ball likes to run the ball straight up field. He doesn’t mess around with too many jukes or display many cut backs. Instead, he slashes through the defense with great acceleration off the ball. If Ball is coming at you with a full head of steam, you had better look out. Despite his average size, Ball showed great trucking ability in college. When Ball does make a cut, it is aggressive and quick. His style should work well in the NFL if he can combine it with greater speed. The athletes only get bigger and faster at the next level.

Running Ability:

Ball has a tremendous amount of natural ability at running back. He can squeak through small holes and has a huge initial burst. His legs never stop moving on contact and he has excellent pad level. Ball’s decision making is also impressive. It always appears as if he knows where he is going and is patient enough to either wait for his blockers or blow through a hole. Most importantly, Ball knows how to get into the end zone. His 84 total touchdowns in college are evidence of this. His quick decision making and power on the goal line helped him achieve such impressive statistics.

Passing game:

The passing game is not a huge strong point, yet is not a weakness, for Ball. Once again, he appears about average. All of his receiving touchdowns (6 TDs) were during his breakout year in 2011. That same year he had a total of 306 yards on 26 receptions. However, the rest of his career was not impressive in regards to receiving, only going over 100 yards one other year. His senior year he only had 72 yards on 10 receptions. Ball is a good pass blocking option, which will definitely help him at the next level. He gets in front of defenders well and can pick up blitzers.

Character:

According to police, Ball’s assault was unprovoked. So, it’s hard to blame him for that mishap. He is a well-spoken young man and appears to be an extremely hard worker. Interviews seem to run smoothly and he always answers questions with a high amount of professionalism.

Possible Teams:

The Packers would create a lot of buzz if they were to draft Ball. He would obviously be a hometown favorite in Green Bay and would fit into an offense that clearly needs running backs. They would, most likely, use their second round pick if they were to draft him. Ball would also make a good Steeler. Black and Yellow nation would easily welcome in a rough and tough, no nonsense back like Ball. Pittsburg could possibly wait until their third round pick for him if they see his potential.  Overall, Ball will most likely end up as a late second or early third round pick with either the Packers, Steelers, Bengals, Jets, or Broncos; all of whom are searching for running backs. I believe whoever is getting Ball, is getting a steal.