The Broncos entered the draft with a desire to improve the backfield and came away with the best scheme fit in the whole class. It isn’t just that Javonte Williams could provide immediate competition for Melvin Gordon, he also brings a skillset to contribute on passing downs early. His combination of burst, elusiveness, and contact balance should also make him a factor in short yardage, a red-zone weapon Pat Shurmur could surely use in 2021.
To get a better idea of what Williams can offer the Broncos, I reached out to the Tar Heel Blog’s Brandon Anderson, as he covered him throughout his collegiate career.
1st and 10
What does Javonte Williams bring to the Broncos?
Anderson: Javonte Williams may be one of the more fascinating running backs UNC has had since Gio Bernard. He’s a very strong back that almost always breaks the first tackle, he was a great blocker for Sam Howell, and he was extremely dangerous in the red zone. I think what’s even more amazing about what he was able to do was that he did it in UNC offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s Air Raid offense, so 99% of his runs were out of shotgun formation. I can only imagine what kind of damage he’ll be able to do in a more diverse scheme (I-formations, singleback, etc.), and I really think the Broncos got a running back that can be a first through third down back.
This run by Javonte Williams was absolutely ridiculous!— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) December 12, 2020
UNC has over 400 rush yards today and the game isn't even over yet pic.twitter.com/syhAnzUMAY
2nd and 8
It’s impossible to ignore Williams’ sheer physicality. It didn’t surprise me to learn he was a former linebacker. I did find it informative that he has a childhood nickname of “Pookie” and won a state championship every year he was in high school. I’m curious what else Broncos Country should know about Javonte the man? How was covering him during his time with the Tarheels?
Anderson: Honestly, the only other player I’ve had as much fun covering when it comes to Carolina football is Sam Howell. Javonte Williams was a joy to watch on the field, and an even bigger joy to write about. He is a very selfless team player that did whatever it took to win. What’s really amazing is that he only had one DI scholarship offer his high school senior year and it was from Coastal Carolina. That was also the same season that he switched to running back, and that is when he impressed former head coach Larry Fedora enough to earn a UNC offer.
A pretty cool fact about him: in high school he was valedictorian and graduated with a 4.6 GPA. He said that football always came second to school, and that his mom would buy him a new pair of shoes if he got straight A’s on his report card. If you ask me, that’s some extremely effective parenting!
Normally I'd say scout at least 3-4 games of every prospect before grading them, but with Javonte Williams I really only needed one play pic.twitter.com/BGmheg7thg— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 27, 2021
3rd and 5
Dating back to January, I considered Williams the best running back prospect for the Broncos. At the same time, he started two games for UNC and finished his career with fewer touches than Michael Carter. What do you think influenced that decision, and should Broncos Country be concerned about it?
Anderson: I’ll lead with this - Broncos Country has nothing to worry about. Michael Carter getting more snaps than Javonte Williams wasn’t really for any particular reason. Mack Brown said that he felt great about playing either back in any situation, and that really who ended up getting snaps had more to do with feel throughout the game than anything. I would say Michael Carter was a little better as a pass-catching running back and was a bit more agile in the trenches. However, as I mentioned before, Williams was extremely hard to bring down, and he was in my opinion better than Carter in the red zone. So yeah, Mack Brown really just dished out snaps based on feel, and there was really no drop-off any time either of them entered the game.
4th and 1
The Broncos have Melvin Gordon under contract for one more year, which means Williams may be caught in a timeshare this season. Do you think he offers the skillset to contribute on third downs? Short yardage?
Anderson: I think Williams will be really good in short yardage situations. In second and short situations I wouldn’t be surprised if he was able to pick up the first more often than not. As far as third down goes, I think it depends on what the Broncos like to do in those situations. He can catch it out of the backfield, but I definitely don’t see that as a strength of his. In third and short situations I feel like he would be good moving the marker on the ground. In third and long situations I feel like he would be best utilized as a blocker.
Javonte Williams with a clutch catch on 2nd and 20. pic.twitter.com/A7WfUHo0ot— Joe (R-E-L-A-X) Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) May 7, 2021
What are your expectations for Williams’ career in the NFL?
Anderson: I think Williams will have a very good NFL career, though admittedly I’d like to see how how rookie season turns out before I predict what his ceiling is. I think he could eventually be a starter for the Broncos, and hopefully he does a good job this season of getting fans to see that as well. The Broncos got a good one, and I hope you all enjoy having him on your team as much as I enjoyed him being a Tar Heel!
Are you excited to see Javonte Williams in orange and blue?
This poll is closed
No, I root for the Raiders