Broncos RB Javonte Williams exceeded expectations last season as a rookie. Denver already had Melvin Gordon, which meant Williams would have to settle for RB2. It was assumed that Gordon would receive the lion’s share of both carries and yards, but Williams took advantage of seemingly every opportunity he got, giving the Broncos no choice but to get him more involved in the offense halfway through the season.
Williams was drafted by the Broncos in the the second round of the 2021 draft (#35 overall) out of the University of North Carolina. There, he displayed unrivaled elusiveness, forcing 75 missed tackles en route to 1,140 yards and 22 touchdowns in his final season with the Tar Heels.
Working in tandem with Gordon, Williams impressed. He closed out his rookie campaign with 903 rushing yards, 31 broken tackles, and four touchdowns. His efficiency metrics stood out, notably his yards created (841) and yards created per touch (3.42), which ranked #6 and #7 overall.
Heading into 2022, Williams appears ready to embrace a bigger role in the offense. The addition of QB Russell Wilson means Denver will see longer drives and a more dynamic passing attack. Williams is the perfect running back for Wilson, as he’s proven to be a reliable receiving threat out of the backfield. In 2021, he tallied 316 receiving yards on 43 receptions while dropping just three passes.
Health Analysis – Williams was relatively healthy throughout 2021. He did fight off a few lower half injuries (quad, knee), as well as an abdomen injury, but he still played in all 17 games and averaged a 51% offensive snap share. His Injury Risk is Elevated (19%) and his Health Performance Factor is Peak (87%). The Broncos keeping Melvin Gordon will likely impact Williams’ usage, however I still think he’s going to be a solid RB2 worth a third round pick.