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Published on 02/24/2012 at Fri Feb 24 12:21.
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Knowshon Moreno, Denver’s 3rd year formerly starting running back, is on the verge of being a draft bust. Josh McDaniels drafted him #12 in the 2009 draft and, given his stellar college career, he came into the NFL with high expectations. At Georgia, despite declaring for the NFL draft as a junior, he held sixth place in the school record list for 498 rushing attempts, 2,734 rushing yards, and 30 rushing touchdowns.

But his first year with the Broncos was met with disappointment: he managed only a 59.2 yards per game average in 16 games, and a paltry 7 touchdowns. He seemed slow to hit the hole, indecisive, and lacked a burst once he hit the second level. His performance seemed less than pedestrian. While it is true that the offensive line took a lot of the blame for his poor performance, Moreno himself seemed to be much of the problem.

2010 was not any better. He only played in 13 games, but his average per game went up by only .7 to 59.9 yards per game and only 5 touchdowns.

In the 2011 offseason, he started a serious workout program. He slimmed down and tried to be a faster, more dynamic back. In training camp, his expectations were high, going so far as to occasionally be referred to as “New Knowshon” or “Knewshon”, but he was quickly eclipsed by McGahee who was superior in every respect. Still, as a relief running back, Moreno actually showed significant improvement over the course of the season with few opportunities. Then he blew out his ACL in game 7 of the season and had to be put on injured reserve.

John Fox said today that his rehab is coming along “quite nicely,” and that he sees Moreno in the team rehab facility almost every day. With luck, the ACL won’t set him back, but one never knows about an injury of that nature.

Privately, the team has said that they intend to keep him on the roster in 2012, but he will have a smaller role in the offense. His salary cap hit is very small, and the team is already in need at his position. With McGahee having worn down by the end of the season, it is important that the team has a solid back that can relieve McGahee so he does not have to carry the load for so long.

To throw a wrench into the mix, however, Moreno was arrested for a DUI on Feb 1. He was pulled over for speeding in a construction zone, and then they found that he not only had been drinking, he did not have proof of insurance.

Fox’s comments on the matter seemed relatively neutral; he clearly did not want to overly punish a player for making a mistake, but also will not want to see something like this happen from the player again.

What does the future hold for Moreno? His rehab is going well, but you never know how an ACL will heal until it is healed. These days ACL tears aren’t the career-enders that they used to be, but frankly Moreno’s weaknesses as a running back are only going to be compounded by a bad knee. The Broncos are in need of another back, and it seems likely that he will return to the team only to be in fierce competition with Lance Ball, Jeremiah Johnson and Mario Fannin for the #3 position. Ball is the leading prospect for that role, but Fannin came into the league with high hopes that he could be a diamond in the rough. With all of this, it is entirely possible that between his knee, his DUI, and his sub-par performance, he might not survive the cut-down phase at the end of training camp.

All in all, Moreno has his work cut out for him; he has already fallen far short of his draft expectations, and unless he improves drastically in 2012, he is going to be considered a first round bust.

  • bfree2bronc

    It is my opinion the Broncos will draft a top 5 RB in this draft class.

  • Anonymous

    I’m ok with keeping him on the roster to start training camp. He isn’t worth anything to anyone else and who knows, maybe he will be a huge surprise.

    I say we cut him if he doesn’t look absolutely out of this world though. No reason to keep an average back that gets hurt every time someone stares at him with hungry eyes.

  • Anonymous

    The man can sell a flea flicker, though. 

  • Tom9798

    I’d let him go . . . all seven plays he has looked great since we drafted him, won’t justify.  Like Trog said, ‘he’s not worth anything to anyone,’ . . so be it.

    Like bfree said, draft an RB, someone like McGahee, straight downhill bull . . . no cutsy 15 yd. lateral running for a two yard loss.

  • jara

    I think Broncos should just go after a back in the draft. I wouldn’t put to much stock in this guy

  • E. Halsey Miles

    I hope not. I’ve been reading about how top RB draft picks aren’t really doing much for teams the last few years (really not since Adrian Peterson and it’s not like the Vikings have been competitive lately.)

    As far as the first 2-3 rounds of the draft go, my personal opinion is that they’ll stick with defense. Interior D-line and CB are obvious need positions on defense, plus safety and linebacker could still use some help.

    On offense they should continue to draft OL and it’s weird to me, but WR; we went into last season thinking that WR was the only position the team was actually pretty set at, but now suddenly we’re looking at WR as a need position. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, but I think Decker has a lot to prove, Royal may test free agency, and we traded Lloyd leaving only Thomas as a quality WR but he has yet to play a full season.

  • Anonymous

    I’m REALLY hoping Doug Martin falls to us in the 2nd. There is an outside shot LaMichael James does too if he has a rough day on the 40. It’s going to be a grave mistake by a lot of teams if either of those guys aren’t gone by the time they get to us because both will have outstanding NFL careers. Hopefully that grave mistake is made though haha.

  • anthony33

    Top 3 things Bronx need to have happen make a difference next year.

    1  The development of Tim Tebow.  Lots of work needed, but if anyone can do it, it is TT.  Can you imagine him, his will to win, his work ethic and his character with a 60+% completion rate?  OMG.

    2  Improve the middle of the defense:  DT’s, MLB and Safeties.  MLB is our weakest link right now.

    3  More depth on the O-line, especially the middle of the O-line.  Reading stuff that Walton grades out as one of the worst centers in the NFL.  I obviously do not watch the type of film to know, just sayin’.  Can never be too deep in either line.

    As far as Moreno is concerned… no factor.  Too bad as he seems like a nice kid, but nothing special at all.

  • Vincemarine

    Draft Martin in the 2nd round and cut Moreno ASAP. Also I think Fannin has a lot of up side and could be a good surprise next year.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah… Just cut him and lets move on. I had way rather use a pick and take a chance than keep this clown around. Knowshow has more than proved that he isn’t going to cut it in the NFL.

    I don’t even think he’d get picked up if cut, so why should we bother either. I didn’t like the pick in the first place. Lets let’em go with a smile and a hand shake. See ya!!!

  • Anonymous

     He needs to call Tatum Bell so they can set up a kiosk.

  • Daday

    wow really a bust ? you gotta be kidding me.the only negative about this kid is being injury prone..his rookie year he gained a 1000 yards in a pass first offense behind a busted o line that had 2 interior rookie offensive lineman and clady came of an acl injury,not to mention he was going 50 50 in carries with Correl Buchalter….and yet claimed a bust…thats ridiculous 

  • Daday

    Denver has obviously way more problems on there team to pick up a running back,let alone one that early.They need to address the gapes at MLB,DT and a center by best bet is they will pick up a dt in the 1st round and later down the line pick up a o-line if not addressed in free agency. don’t be surprised if they have a block buster signing with all the cap room they have this year

  • 5280

    Honestly, with the read option and the need to help tebow in the running game, I think they should keep all the guys they have right now and add one in the draft and then by the end of camp make a decision. I think there’s a good chance they’ll keep him. In 2011, he seemed to find his nook in this system when they started running the read option, so I think they should give him one last look with the read option. Running read option, the broncos need all the help they can get at RB, and I fully expect them to run the ball the best in the league next year because of the read option.

  • Doodler62

    Give him one more year. I used to listen people say he was over rated at high school games while scoring 4tds a game. THen I would listen to them say he wouldn’t do much at Georgia. Ha. This year will be the year for Knowshon. I hope for all the Bronco fans, it is with you.

  • Zdog69

    Ya I think denver should keep knowhon. Ya he’s been hurt but shit happens. Hes still an amazing back. Him and Jeremiah Johnson could rack up alot of yards in 12. 

  • Zdog696969

    Willis is getting up there in age, and he is a great example of a player being hurt and coming back. And he’s better then ever. So Knowshon can do it too. Go Knowshon. I believe in you!!!