The Denver Broncos have been powered by a strong defense and a revived rushing attack in 2011, allowing them to be in contention for the AFC West title. But the Broncos would do well to think about drafting a long-term answer at running back in the 2012 NFL Draft. Might the Broncos be able to draft one of the top backs in the draft?
In Russ Lande's latest NFL mock draft at the Sporting News, the Broncos select Lamar Miller of the Miami Hurricanes with the No. 21 overall pick. As Lande points out, Willis McGahee, despite rejuvenating his career by moving to Denver, will be 31 in 2012. Injuries have certainly slowed McGahee down this season, though he did break the 1,000 yard mark.
Miller rushed for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011 before declaring for the draft in mid-December. The Broncos last drafted a Miami running back in 2002 when they selected Clinton Portis in the second round.
In Lande's mock, however, there is the tantalizing possibility that Alabama's Trent Richardson could drop into the 20s. As it stands, Lande has Richardson off the board at No. 19 to the New York Jets. Running backs usually fall in the first round, and it's not out of the question that Richardson could as well.