The Broncos traded up 5 spots in the 2nd round to take North Carolina RB Javonte Williams with the 35th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Williams shared UNC’s backfield with Michael Carter, forming a thunder and lightning duo over the past 2 seasons. 2020 was a true breakout for Williams (5’10, 212) with 1,140 yards and 19 TDs on 157 attempts. He added a strong 25-305-3 receiving line. The Wallace, North Carolina native wins with incredible contact balance and power; his 0.48 broken tackles per attempt marked the best rate ever charted by Pro Football Focus. Despite the physical playing style, Williams has never missed a college game due to injury. He joins Melvin Gordon in Denver’s backfield in what figures to be a committee attack in 2021. Gordon hits free agency next offseason.
Broncos HC Vic Fangio says he's willing to use rookie RB Javonte Williams on all downs and distances. "He's earned that trust, and we're not at all against playing him in any situation, in any time of the game," Fangio said. We'll get our 1st look at how work is divvied between Williams and RB Melvin Gordon on Sunday.
Broncos OC Pat Shurmur said Wednesday that RB Javonte Williams has been "terrific" early in camp. “His running ability is very obvious, but the things that we see are his instincts as a football player," Shurmur continued. "Some people just ‘get it’ and we’ve all been around people who just don’t quite ‘get it’ and they wake up every morning and start over. He gets it and it shows up in his pass protection, it shows up in being able to get lined up (and) his awareness. He’s got a really bright future.” The pass protection praise is especially noteworthy for a rookie RB. Melvin Gordon has reportedly been running as Denver's clear starter so far, but there's plenty of time for Williams to change that.
The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran predicts that RB Javonte Williams will lead the Broncos in carries this season. He adds that RB Melvin Gordon could open the season as the starter with Williams getting a bigger and bigger role each week. "The Broncos traded up in the second round for Williams and they weren’t high-fiving and fist-pumping in the draft room because he will watch this year," O'Halloran writes. This will be an important backfield to monitor in August. Williams has climbed into the 5th round in recent FFPC best-ball drafts, while Gordon has slid into the late 8th.
Broncos HC Vic Fangio said he doesn’t see “any limits” with rookie RB Javonte Williams. “We could work him and Melvin, just spelling each other as we go, and one could go in and predominately do third-down stuff,” Fangio said via the Denver Post. “(The rotation) will work itself out and we think (Javonte’s) capable in all downs and distances and all situations for us. And I also believe that him and Melvin will be a good combination back there, along with Boone.” We’re not buying Boone as a real piece of Denver’s backfield rotation. But it’s nice to hear the early confidence in Williams, who the Broncos traded up to select in Round 2. He’s a potential RB2 right out of the gate.
Based on our award-winning projections, an axis of data points give insights far deeper than a rankingView Our Accuracy Awards »
Round-by-Round Draft Strategy Guides, Sleepers, Undervalued Players, Busts and Handcuffs
Command your entire draft with a dynamic tool synced to your league. Updating and adapting in real time.
Quickly find the free-agent gems, pull the trigger on the perfect trade & make the right start/sit decisions.
$6/month thereafter, billed semi-annually, one-click cancel anytime.