ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Former Dallas Cowboys general manager Gil Brandt has long said he likes to tell NFL prospects to lock themselves in a room a week or so before the NFL draft and not come out until the draft has begun because of all of the chatter surrounding the event.
Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball was there a year ago. He was an NFL hopeful who had been a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011, a Doak Walker Award winner in 2012 and with an NCAA record 82 touchdowns in hand.
And yes, he dove into the coverage plenty to wade through the sea of mock drafts to see where he might end up.
"Of course, anybody that tells you they're not doing that, they're not being 100 percent honest with you, so of course," Ball said Wednesday."It's one of the most important situations in your life, you don't know where you're going to be in the next couple weeks ... I was most definitely looking at it all the time. I saw a lot that was crazy, but it was just something to do when I was bored. So, I never really fell into it, but I was definitely checking."
The Broncos selected Ball in the second round of last April's draft -- 58th overall. He ended up playing in every game for the team -- 16 in the regular season and three in the playoffs, including Super Bowl XLVIII -- and was the second-leading rusher on the team with 559 yards on his 120 carries.
Broncos head coach John Fox usually refers to the pre-draft buildup as "noise." Ball had been projected to be among the first running backs off the board last April, a likely second-round pick. In the end Ball was the third back selected behind Giovani Bernard (37th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals) and Le'Veon Bell (48th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers).
"A lot of it was actually kind of accurate based on where I did fall, sometimes I thought, just like every other rookie, that I would go a little higher," Ball said. "But I was really, really fortunate I landed here with the Denver Broncos."