In April, eyebrows were raised on Day 2 of the NFL draft when Denver Broncos first-year GM George Paton traded up to select North Carolina running back Javonte Williams.
Denver selected Williams with pick No. 35 overall in the second round and gave up some draft capital for the privilege. The general consensus within Broncos Country was that with Melvin Gordon earning top dollars, there wasn’t a pressing need to take a running back so early in the draft, even after the team had cut bait with local hero Phillip Lindsay.
Subsequently, Lindsay is now a member of the Houston Texans, and while Gordon remains the No. 1 tailback, Williams is the one drawing flashy comparisons to other elite NFL ball-carriers. First-string quarterback Teddy Bridgewater became the latest player to rave about Williams when he compared the Broncos' rookie to New Orleans Saints star back Alvin Kamara, whom he used he share a backfield with.
“I get asked about Javonte often, and I told someone—I don’t want to be seen like I’m reaching or anything—but he possesses some of those qualities that you see in Alvin Kamara,” Bridgewater said earlier this week.
Any fantasy football fan knows that Kamara is a player that many admire so Broncos fans were salivating as Bridgewater laid out his detailed breakdown of Williams and his unique skill-set.
“He’s a guy, man, he’s extremely smart. He catches the ball well out of the backfield. He runs good routes,” Bridgewater said of Williams. “He has a low center of gravity. He’s strong. He knows how to set up blocks. You see that in a guy—he’s only a rookie.”
One bonus of Gordon being Denver's featured back this year is that it puts less pressure on the rookie and allows him to learn the ropes as an understudy who's still poised to garner a significant share of the ball. Bridgewater also believes that good coaching will go a long way toward setting Williams on the path to realizing his vast potential.
“His ceiling is so high. He has great coaching as well,” Bridgewater said. “This coaching staff is doing a great job of grooming him and preparing him for what’s in store this season.”
Providing Williams can be used successfully in a two-back setup, the chances are he could make a serious impact, all of which would set the Broncos up nicely should Gordon be allowed to test free agency next year as expected.
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