|Jeremiah Johnson remains a dark horse |
to watch at running back..
But the team is not expected to address the position through free agency.
As was noted by the Denver Post's Jeff Legwold on Friday, the team looked at free agents Rashard Mendenhall (who went on to sign with Arizona) and Shonn Greene (who went on to sign with Tennessee) earlier this offseason, but signed neither. Legwold says the team has also looked at New York's Ahmad Bradshaw, but favor the draft over the free agent options.
Bradshaw is a powerful running back that would fit Denver's offense, but he would come with health concerns. In January, per Legwold, Bradshaw had surgery to repair a knee injury he suffered last season—a huge red flag for any team considering signing the 27-year-old RB.
The Broncos own six selections in the draft (including 28th overall), and are expected to use one of them on a RB later this month. Candidates to draw interest from Denver include Alabama's Eddie Lacy, Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell, and Wisconsin's Montee Ball.
If Legwold is correct, the Broncos consider Bradshaw a fall-back option if they do not come out of the draft with a shiny new RB. As of now, Denver's RB situation is vague.
McGahee and Moreno are joined by second-year scatback Ronnie Hillman, who is seemingly a lock to make the 53-man roster. Beyond Hillman returning, nothing else seems to be set in stone.
Fifth-year back Lance Ball has been re-signed after rushing 42 times for 158 yards and a score last season. With a lot of special team's experience, Ball will likely be kept as a fourth RB.
Practice squad players Jeremiah Johnson and Mario Fannin are expected to return to training camp to fight for a roster spot this summer, but both remain long shots to make the active roster. One of them could surprise in camp, but it will be hard for either to surpass Ball, who has been on the active roster every season since 2010.
The most likely scenario seems to include the team drafting a running back and then cutting either McGahee or Moreno this summer—keeping a rookie, Hillman, and a veteran as the three main RBs heading into 2013. Until the draft has come and gone, Denver's backfield will remain a question mark. Everything is speculation at this point.