Even in an incredibly competitive division, fans of the Denver Broncos are riding a mile high heading into the 2022 NFL season. After enduring mediocre to lackluster play at the quarterback position ever since the retirement of Peyton Manning, the franchise finally has another veteran signal-caller they can feel confident in.
There’s a good chance that fans who are betting on the Broncos to go far this season will believe that Russell Wilson will be the main reason why. The former Seahawks star provides a level of talent and respect in the locker room that should bolster the rest of the offense.
However, Denver’s fortunes might ultimately be decided by the type of production they get in the running game. If the Broncos can run the ball effectively, it helps slow down the elite pass rushers the team will often face this year.
One of the most popular breakout picks for the upcoming season is Javonte Williams. The Broncos selected him in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and many thought that he would grab the starting job by the reins last year. That did not happen, but the former University of North Carolina star showed plenty of promise in his rookie campaign. Displaying a versatile skill set, Williams rushed for over 900 yards while appearing in all 17 regular season games last year.
His coming-out party came in a prime-time affair against the Kansas City Chiefs, where he rushed for 102 yards and caught an additional six passes for 76 yards. Williams reached the end zone once through the air that evening.
Wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton are expected to greatly benefit from Wilson’s presence but don’t be surprised if Williams ascends into one of the league’s most dangerous dual-threat players.
It was one of the more surprising developments of free agency. Many fans around the league wanted to see what Williams could do with the Broncos’ starting job all to himself, and for a while, it seemed like he might have that opportunity. The Broncos did not address their offense early in the 2022 NFL Draft, but they did elect to re-sign running back Melvin Gordon.
While Gordon’s return to Denver dampens the individual prospects for Williams, it is a solid insurance policy for the team. The seven-year NFL veteran is motivated to push Williams for carries and has largely been a durable back in the NFL. Appearing in one less game in 2021, Gordon rushed for 918 yards last season with eight touchdowns on the ground.
Other Depth At Running Back
Like almost every NFL team, Denver will hope that their primary and main reserve plans remain healthy for the duration of the season. However, if the Broncos do need to look deeper on their bench, Mike Boone will be an alternative.
He spent the first three years of his NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings and was in Denver last season. Boone has not received a ton of chances to show what he can do but does currently have a 5.5 yards per carrying average.
The team also has Damarea Crockett on the roster, who has spent most of his brief professional career on the practice squad.