The Denver Broncos have one of the best young running backs in the NFL in Javonte Williams. As a rookie, Williams exploded onto the scene with 1,219 scrimmage yards. He appears to be destined to be an elite NFL running back for the foreseeable future.
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Broncos RB Predicted to Be Big ‘Bust’
However, there are some skeptics. Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay predicted Williams will be the Broncos’ “biggest bust of the 2022 season”.
“While Williams should remain a key cog in Denver’s offense, it’s unlikely he’ll notably improve in any major statistical category this coming year,” Kay wrote. “With quarterback Russell Wilson taking over the reins at center in the Mile High, the Broncos’ passing attack should see an increase in volume. The club hasn’t had a competent quarterback since Peyton Manning retired six years ago and can air it out more efficiently with the nine-time Pro Bowler now running the show.”
Kay believes Melvin Gordon III’s workload hampers Williams’s statistical potential next season.
“Denver’s decision to retain Melvin Gordon will also eat into Williams’ workload,” Katy wrote. “Gordon is gearing up for his third season with the Broncos, having started 16 games for the organization last year while racking up 918 yards and eight TDs on 203 carries. He was also a capable pass-catching back with 28 receptions for 213 yards and two scores. Williams may have sky-high potential, but too many factors are working against him from becoming a dominant bell-cow running back in 2022.”
No, Williams Will Not Be a ‘Bust’
Kay’s logic is understandable. Gordon does command a considerable workload. Last season, Gordon received 203 carries, which was tied for the 15th-most in the NFL.
However, Williams still has room for statistical improvement, even if Gordon’s workload stays the same. Last season, Williams averaged 4.4 yards per carry. That is behind some of the elite running backs in the league. Jonathan Taylor and Nick Chubb each averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season.
In addition, the Broncos were only 15th in the NFL in run block win rate last season. The offensive line should be better this season.
Lloyd Cushenberry III and Quinn Meinerz both gained another year of experience, and veteran free-agent additions Billy Turner and Tom Compton have both proven to be reliable options throughout their career. Compton actually led all NFL offensive tackles in run block win rate last season.
Let’s say the extenuating circumstances do not work out in Williams’s favor. The Broncos’ offensive line play does not improve, and he continues to split carries with Gordon. There is no reason to believe that he cannot match his production from last season.
If Williams has 1,219 scrimmage yards this season, is he a “bust”? Of course not. The Broncos would be happy to see Williams continue to play at that level.
After the Broncos re-signed Gordon, statistical expectations for Williams next season should be tempered, but calling Williams a bust is a big stretch.