Fantasy Info: Will Knowshon Moreno be a Three Down Back in 2009?
Many analysts had Knowshon Moreno going to the Chargers with the 16th pick in this years NFL draft, but the Broncos snagged him away at the 12th pick. Denver had two first round picks and most of the talk was that they would either good defense or possibly draft quarterback Josh Freeman to replace Jay Cutler.
The selection of Moreno did catch me a little off guard as well but I think that was because I’m not used to seeing the Broncos as a franchise, take running backs in the first round. Now that coach Mike Shanahan is no longer with Denver, I suppose new head coach Josh McDaniels wanted to put his stamp on the team with a runner.
Justifying the Pick
In recent talks about Knowshon, coach McDaniels has told the press that he sees his young runners as a three down back. This information is not only encouraging but also very believe able in the long term for Moreno’s career.
While I personally like hearing the head coach say that, I also have my doubts about Moreno playing every down in his rookie season. First reason of concern is that Josh McDaniels is coming over from being the offensive coordinator from the New England Patriots. As the coordinator on that team he used a heavy running back by committee.
This committee was a surprise to many fantasy owners, as most of us thought they would use 2006 first round pick Laurence Maroney as a feature runner. Maroney was widely regarded as the next big runner for fantasy when he came out of Minnasota. Mainly because he was a talented runner and he was on the best team in football.
The second issue I have is that Moreno has good veteran competition around him for touches in Correll Buckhalter and LaMont Jordan. These two runners are not feature runners for the NFL anymore, but neither was Sammy Morris or Kevin Faulk in New England. Seeing these capable runners on the team makes me a little ill about take Knowshon high in this years draft.
My final issue for Moreno is the culture of the Broncos team right now. With so many problems of Cutler being traded to fans doubting the new coach and long time owner, one has to wonder about the Broncos in ’09. If this team gets off to a slow start, I have to believe that it is going to be a long season in Denver for first year coach McDaniels (if it is not already).
Topping all that off it now looks like the Broncos pro bowl receiver Brandon Marshall may be traded as well.
Reason for hope
Beyond the team problems and my personal “Maroney PTSD”, I do like what Moreno brings to the table. This kid is a highlight real of a talent and has excellent hands in the passing game. With his ability to receive and run pass patterns, fantasy owners have to feel like this kid could be a top five fantasy player in years to come.
I also believe that while Maroney was a bad situation in New England, we all must say finally that his shoulder was never right, as he has come out and said so personally. If Moreno can stay healthy then one has to believe that McDaniels will want to prove he was right about selecting a running back. I’m sure many fans in Denver would have liked to see the Broncos take a defender at that point like Brian Orakpo and then look for a runner at the 18th pick.
Knowshon Moreno’s Fantasy Football Information
Fortunately for Moreno he does still have a steady quarterback in Kyle Orton and a great young LT in Ryan Clady. If the Broncos can hold onto Brandon Marshall then Knowshon will have two solid receivers on the team with fellow wideout Eddie Royal.
At the end of the day Moreno is just to talented at this time to not go in the top five round of just about every fantasy draft this season. With his excellent skills and a need for a “young spark” to get the fans excited and forget about Cutler, they need Moreno right away.
With those positives being said I do warn all fantasy owners to just understand that when you take Moreno this year your rolling the dice in season one. We all still need to see head coach McDaniels actually use a young runner as the feature back on the team. To go with that concern the Broncos could potentially fall apart (like the Dolphins in 2007) and crumble their way to the bottom of the AFC West.
If your willing to roll the dice, I would suggest taking Moreno no higher then a late second running back or ideally your third runner on the team. If you can get him at that price and he doesn’t work out then you might still be able to recover with the players you selected in front of him.
Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com