It’s week three of the 2023 NFL Draft watch, and this time I’m pulling an early-rounder. This is partially for fun, although player stock rises and drops all the time.
This week we’re looking at a running back from the Texas A&M Aggies. As I’ll mention later, it’s obviously debatable whether we’ll need to draft an RB (especially using one of our earlier picks), but this is all about exploring our possibilities!
Devon Achane (Texas A&M)
5’9” // 185lbs // Junior (Texas A&M)
Devon Achane, the dual competitor for Texas A&M’s track & field team and football team, is projected to go somewhere in the middle of the second round.
In 2020 Achane played in eight games for 364 rushing yards, three rushing TDs, one receiving TD, and no fumbles. He followed this up in 2021 with twelve games, 910 rushing yards, nine rushing TDs, one receiving TD, and one fumble.
So far in 2022 he’s had 355 rushing yards (and is leading the Aggies in rushing yards), three rushing touchdowns, and one receiving touchdown.
He has been recognized with Preseason Media All-SEC Second Team (RB, AP), Preseason Coaches All-SEC Second Team (RB), and Preseason Coaches All-SEC Third Team (AP).
Achane is strong in rushing and receiving, although he’s not been given as many receiving opportunities. He’s also returned nine kicks, one of those resulting in a TD. He’s agile and hard to catch, he accelerates quickly and can hold onto the momentum, he changes directions easily, and he’s great in space.
His weakness is primarily in pass blocking, though his size does contribute to this difficulty. It’s easier for a larger back to go against the rush. This is something that can and needs to be worked on if he’s going to become a starter, or even a very strong backup (as running backs are often in a position to get injured).
How he fits into Denver
The Broncos have an undisputed starter in Javonte Williams, and there’s solid depth behind him with Melvin Gordon II, Mike Boone, and Damarea Crockett. It’s debatable whether the running back position needs to be bulked up and, if it does, whether we should just pick someone up in FA.
Melvin Gordon was pretty expensive, and when he re-signed on April 27th, it was only for a year. This contract may or may not be extended again. Boone is in a similar situation, becoming a FA again in 2023.
Ultimately, part of this being a way-too-early post is that we’re largely unaware of what our needs will be for next year’s draft, and it’s up to what GM George Paton wants to do. If Gordon and Boone are both brought back next year, it’ll be a pretty crowded RB room to add another one. There are also other positions of need that might take priority with earlier picks.
Achane is going to need more experience as a receiver in order to really contribute to the team, and he isn’t the #1 RB of next year’s projections; but he’s on a fantastic road right now and his talent is eye-catching. I’m at the very least excited to see his development over the course of this college season.
Should the Broncos add depth to the RB position in 2023?
This poll is closed
Yes, in the draft
Yes, but in free agency