Broncos’ Award-Winning RB Reminds Vic Fangio of Hall of Famer

Getty Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams was leaps and bounds better than his 2021 rookie brethren in Week 9, as he earned Rookie of the Week honors.

When Denver Broncos‘ rookie running back Javonte Williams gets going, it’s really difficult to stop him — or even slow down the former UNC star.

A man who runs as if he’s possessed, Williams’s running style is becoming admired among popular network shows and is starting to get national recognition.

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That’s the type of run that has made Williams a fan favorite of Good Morning Football co-host Kyle Brandt, who has seemingly created the popular ‘Angry Runs’ category specifically for the budding star running back.

A Brandt tweet from November 9, showed just how infatuated he is with the Broncos’ star rookie running back.

Williams’s running style and November 7 performance against the Dallas Cowboys is likely what helped him garner national recognition.

Major Award

Williams was the best running back on the AT&T Stadium turf when he ran roughshod over the Cowboys’ defense to the tune of a game-high 111 rushing yards. That performance was good enough to be voted Week 9’s NFL Rookie of the Week.

It was Williams’s first-career 100-yard game, as he was the lone rusher on either team to surpass the century mark. And he did all of that despite four fewer carries than his running mate, Melvin Gordon III (21 carries). Williams also doubled the output of the Cowboys’ Pro Bowl runner Ezekiel Elliott, who could only muster 51 yards on the ground.

Williams’s rushing yards were the most of any rookie running back and ranked fourth in the NFL for Week 9. The output was also the most rushing yards allowed in 2021 by Dallas’ rushing defense, which entered the game ranked sixth in that category.

The competition for the award was stiff, but voters apparently valued what Williams did more, considering the Broncos went into Dallas and destroyed one of the league’s elite, despite being nearly 10-point underdogs entering the contest.

Other notable rookies included Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu, who registered a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeVonta Smith (five catches for 116 yards and a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers), New York Jets receiver Elijah Moore (seven catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts), linebacker Micah Parsons (10 tackles, three tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks against the Broncos), and New England Patriots all-purpose running back Rhamondre Stevenson (106 scrimmage yards against the Carolina Panthers.

When discussing the award during the November 11 media availability, Williams was gracious, only wanting to deflect praise and emphasize the Broncos’ team win.

Comparing him to a Hall of Famer

When talking about Williams’s skill set, head coach Vic Fangio might’ve raised some eyebrows when he compared the rookie to a Hall of Fame running back.

“He reminds me a little bit of probably the best back I’ve been with on a team,” said Fangio during his November 10 media session. “I’m not going to say he’s there yet, but [Williams reminds me of Hall of Famer] Edgerrin James. He kind of runs a little bit [and is a] complete player as Edgerrin.”

The coach added that he doesn’t see year affiliation when watching Williams either.

“He’s just a really good player,” Fangio continued. “He’s a rookie by classification, but not by play, and demeanor, and professionalism. He doesn’t act like a rookie at all. The guy is really good.”

Fangio’s NFL coaching career covers 35 years of experience, so he’s definitely seen his share of all-time great talent. So, if the admitted curmudgeon, who isn’t prone to throwing out verbal bouquets, says he sees some Hall of Fame flashes from his rookie running back, then it holds some weight.

One thing is certain, though, if Williams is half as good as James over the course of his career, then Broncos Country will be thrilled that general manager George Paton moved mountains in the 2021 NFL draft to trade up and get a budding-star running back, who is already among the league’s elite.

Follow Tony Williams on Twitter: @TBone8

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