Just barely under a year since tearing his ACL, Javonte Williams will make his first appearance back in a real-game environment when the Denver Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.

Javonte Williams will see reps vs. 49ers on Saturday

The Denver Broncos will play in their second NFL Preseason game on Saturday against a tough 49ers team, but the main storyline everybody is watching for will be how Javonte Williams looks in his first game back since tearing his ACL.

According to head coach Sean Payton, Williams will not have the same pitch count with Broncos starters expected to play around 20-25 snaps on Saturday.

“I’m going to be smart,” Payton said on Thursday. “He’s not going to get 20 plays. In a perfect game, I’d like to see him get three or four carries, maybe a pass, and just get him going.”

Williams’ total snap count estimates around 10-12 plays vs. San Francisco. Williams has looked strong and springy throughout training camp, returning from the major knee reconstruction following Week 4 last season.

He hasn’t been tackled in practice but has initiated contact running between the tackles. Saturday’s game will be a good test for him as he builds confidence.

One thing to watch is how he looks after first initial contact with an opposing defender. It’s unclear whether or not the 49ers will play any of their starters, but what better way to test yourself than facing last year’s top NFL defense.

Broncos rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims will make his NFL debut

Another player who will debut on Saturday is Broncos second-round rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims. After missing last week’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, Mims will see his first NFL action at wide receiver and potentially see some time in the return game on Saturday.

The rookie speedster has been impressive during training camp, showcasing his speed and ability to track the football in the air. Still, he’s been slowly returning from a hamstring injury he suffered before training camp.

Sean Payton noted that the team’s approach with him would require them to be smart, considering his experience of having two separate hamstring flare-ups since OTAs. For the last two weeks, Mims has ramped up his preparation and on-field work even more, showcasing that he’s ready to go on Saturday.

“He’s had a good week, so he’ll play,” Payton said. I think he’s had a really good week. He’s healthy.”

With Brandon Johnson’s ankle injury last week, Mims is getting healthy at the right time and will be in a prime position to play in that role alongside Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

Other Denver Broncos news and notes from Thursday’s practice

After having several plays participate on the side field earlier in the week, the Broncos will head into Saturday’s game against the 49ers with several players back in the mix and some who will be questionable leading up to kickoff.

Denver Broncos Injury Report

  • Justin Simmons (groin) – DNP on Thursday — will not play on Saturday.
  • P.J. Locke (foot) – DNP on Thursday — will not play on Saturday.
  • Caden Sterns (maintenance) – DNP on Thursday — questionable for Saturday’s game.
  • Chris Manhertz (ankle) – DNP on Thursday — will not play on Saturday.
  • Mike McGlinchey (knee) – DNP on Thursday — will not play on Saturday.
  • Brandon Johnson (ankle) – DNP on Thursday — will not play on Saturday.
  • Tyler Badie (upper body) – DNP on Thursday — unlikely to play on Saturday.

Practice news and notes

  • The Broncos offense was sharp during their red zone 7-on-7 period on Thursday.
    • Russell Wilson completed three of four passes with two touchdowns
    • Jarrett Stidham completed three of four passes with two touchdowns
    • Ben DiNucci completed all of his passes with two touchdowns
  • The Broncos announced they will wear their white alternate helmets against the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
  • Jalen Virgil, Jaleel McLaughlin, Ja’Quan McMillian, Essang Bassey, and Delarrin Turner-Yell headline some of the key young players to watch for on Saturday.
  • Starters are expected to play an estimated 20-25 snaps vs. the 49ers.
  • Keep an eye on Quinn Bailey or undrafted rookie Alex Palczewski getting the start at right tackle.