Commentary

Pressure Point: Is Knowshon a No. 1?

Originally Published: May 6, 2011
By Matt Williamson | Scouts Inc.

Knowshon MorenoTim Umphrey/Getty ImagesKnowshon Moreno rushed for more than 100 yards in both games against Kansas City last season, but otherwise topped 60 yards in a game only once.
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Surprisingly, the Broncos did not address the running back position in the draft, and we all know that coach John Fox wants to run the ball plenty. Maybe the Broncos will make a strong play for a runner in free agency -- DeAngelo Williams certainly would make a lot of sense. But landing Williams isn't a sure thing, and that leaves Knowshon Moreno as the clear-cut No. 1 running back in Denver.

The previous regime in Denver used a very high draft pick on Moreno. I was critical of the pick at the time. Simply put, I didn't think Moreno was a special enough player to warrant such a selection. That has proved true throughout his tenure in Denver.

Moreno's yards per rush and yards per reception increased in his second season. He does have some versatility and is a solid contributor in the passing game. But Moreno isn't a game-breaker or the type of back who wears down a defense. The longest run of his career is only 36 yards.

He doesn't have a niche. Last year, Moreno rushed for more than 100 yards twice -- including a 161-yard effort against Kansas City. But other than those two games, he eclipsed 60 yards on the ground only once. As starting NFL running backs go, Moreno has average run instincts, elusiveness and burst. He isn't particularly fluid with the ball in his hands. He does catch the ball well, but isn't a great blocker. Durability might be an issue.

Former coach Josh McDaniels led a heavy pass-first offense. That won't be the case with Fox in charge. He clearly prefers a two-back attack. For various reasons, Correll Buckhalter, LenDale White and Laurence Maroney cannot be counted on. The Broncos need to add further help at this position. If they cannot upgrade to a guy like Williams, Moreno will be the lead back in Denver. Is he up to the task? I have my doubts.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.