Montee Ball's fantasy value

July, 31, 2013
7/31/13
11:21
AM ET
Montee BallAP Photo/Ed AndrieskiMontee Ball has the opportunity to be the lead back in Denver. Will he win the job?
Late last season, reliability issues as a pass protector and a light frame kept Ronnie Hillman from stepping up in Willis McGahee's absence to become the Denver Broncos' bell cow running back.

Instead, it was former first-round pick Knowshon Moreno (who earlier in the season had been relegated to a scout team back) who toted the heavy load, providing sufficient production in late-season starts.

The fact that Hillman was unable to take carries from Moreno was an indication of his readiness (or lack thereof) to step into a featured role.

The Broncos invested a second-round pick on Montee Ball in this year's draft, a strong suggestion that he -- not Hillman -- would replace the departed McGahee (who remains unsigned).

But early training camp buzz suggests that Hillman is making a push to assume the starting role in Denver, as he's taken an abundance of first-team reps thus far.

I'm not buying it.

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Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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