Williams has led the Broncos in carries through the first two weeks of the season, but he’s still firmly locked into a committee with Melvin Gordon. Williams’ odds to win Rookie of the Year rose from +2000 to +1500 over the first two weeks of the season, but if he’s going to warrant serious consideration for the award, the Broncos are going to need to utilize him even more on offense.
Here are a few reason why Denver needs to get Williams more involved on offense in Week 3 against the New York Jets and beyond this season:
Javonte Williams Is Elite at Extending Runs
Williams has turned his 27 carries this season into 109 yards (4.0 yards per carry), but he’s done a great job breaking tackles this season.
NFL Network insider Brian Baldinger raved about Williams’ ability to withstand contact on runs after Denver’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.
Despite having just 27 carries and two catches on the season, Williams has forced 11 missed tackles, which is the fourth-most in the NFL.
Denver has done a great job opening up the play-action passing game for Teddy Bridgewater with the run, and Williams has been the catalyst this season, averaging 2.3 yards after contact on his carries this season.
Melvin Gordon vs. Javonte Williams: Who Has Been More Efficient?
On the surface, Gordon (5.5 yards per carry) has looked like the more efficient runner, but his stats are inflated by his 70-yard touchdown run against the New York Giants in Week 1.
While you can’t completely discount Gordon’s touchdown run, it’s worth noting that he’s gained just 62 yards on his other 23 rushing attempts (2.7 yards per carry). Williams has a long run of 16 on the season, and he’s also earned the sixth-best rushing grade from ProFootballFocus through the first two weeks of the season.
Gordon is a better pass-catching back than Williams at this point in his career, but the rookie has made a serious case to be Denver’s primary option on early downs, and he’s done a decent job in pass protection as well.
It’s only a matter of time before Williams begins to take a larger share of the workload in the backfield.
Javonte Williams Is the Back of the Future
The Broncos running back committee has been key to keeping both Williams and Gordon fresh through the start of the season, but Williams is the present and future of this backfield.
Denver used a second-round pick on Williams, and Gordon is in a contract year, meaning there’s a chance he isn’t back next season, especially after George Paton let Phillip Lindsay walk this past offseason.
Williams is on a team-friendly rookie deal for the next four seasons, and the Broncos need to be positive that he can handle a major workload going forward.
There’s no reason that Denver should hold Williams back to make sure Gordon gets touches, and while the committee allows the Denver offense to be more dynamic, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Williams become the clear leader as the season goes on.
If he does, there’s going to be a legitimate chance that he can put himself in the Rookie of the Year conversation.
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