Javonte Williams enters Denver Broncos training camp as featured back

NFL: Denver Broncos OTA
Jun 6, 2022; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (33) runs with the ball during OTA workouts at the UC Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the Denver Broncos offense featured the dynamic rushing duo of veteran rusher Melvin Gordon and 2021 second-round draft pick Javonte Williams. Entering 2022, the Broncos duo returns in a brand new offensive scheme ahead of training camp.

What will the dynamic look like this season with Gordon and Williams? Will the Broncos embrace a by-committee approach in the new outside zone scheme, that new head coach Nathaniel Hackett is implementing?

Denver Broncos running back room

Coming into training camp, the Broncos feature five total backs on their roster. Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon, Mike Boone, and Damarea Crockett headline the players returning from last season. The newest addition to the room is undrafted rookie free agent Tyreik McCallister.

Last season, both Gordon and Williams had 203 touches each in the rushing game. Going into this season, the expectation is that Williams will be the Broncos’ featured back with Gordon and him sharing touches again this season. 

However, as Hackett introduces his new offense this season, he’s alluded to the possibility that Denver could utilize a running back by committee approach when it comes to the position.

“I think with any running back, you always want to have as many as you can,” Hackett said during Broncos offseason organized team activities. “You want a big stable. You want to have a guy that you can feed and make sure he gets a lot. He’s still a young player, and he’s still learning. You want to make sure you can split it as much as you can. I think last year, we had a great—actually, a lot of the places that I’ve been, there’s always been kind of two guys because you always want to try to split the load as much as you can. At the same time, he’s a great player. We’ll just have to see how the whole thing goes.”

At the time Hackett spoke, Gordon had yet to re-sign with the team.

Regardless of who gets the first carries in a game, the expectation is that both players will see nearly equal volume. However, Hackett and his staff will determine which player gives them the best advantage in various on-field situations.

Who will secure the Broncos’ third spot behind Williams and Gordon?

With Williams and Gordon holding precedence for the Broncos primary rushing duo, competition is wide open for who will back them up. Mike Boone and Damarea Crockett are projected to compete for the spot, but undrafted rookie free agent Tyreik McAllister could make a claim for the spot during preseason.

Last year, the Broncos relied heavily on Gordon and Williams, but Boone stepped in during the team’s Week 13 game against the Kansas City Chiefs after Gordon was ruled out due to injury. Despite a small sample size, Boone averaged 8.7 yards per attempt on 4 rushes while also catching one pass for 19 yards out of the backfield.

With Boone also contributing in all four core special teams units, Crockett and McAllister will have to have a strong showing throughout training camp and preseason in order to unseat him. If Boone secures the third spot on the depth chart, both Crockett and McAllister will be strong candidates for the team’s practice squad unless another team claims them if released.

Denver Broncos training camp kicks off on Wednesday, July 27 at Dove Valley in south Denver.

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