The Denver Broncos drafted a second running back in 2018 after taking David Williams with the 226th pick.
With more highly-ranked prospects still available, the 23-year-old is a surprise pick by John Elway, who isn’t afraid of swinging and missing.
If you want to know more about Williams, it isn’t easy to find. There aren’t the plethora of scouting reports from the usual big-name outlets with expert opinions.
NFL.com doesn’t have a scouting grade on him, other than “likely needs time in the developmental league”, but those who saw him at the Arkansas Pro Day believed he could be a sneaky late-round pick.
The clearest indication of what the Broncos might have seen in the graduate transfer from South Carolina is at WholeHogSports.com from Scottie Bordelon, who dished some of the details on what happened at Walker Pavilion on March 28, as well as insight from Williams.
In his single season in Arkansas, Williams played in Bret Bielema’s pro-style system and he referenced the former Razorbacks head coach’s experience of getting running backs drafted to the NFL.
In Bielema’s time at Arkansas, Alex Collins was drafted by Baltimore in 2016, while Jonathan Williams — who has a similar build to his namesake — was drafted in the same class by Buffalo, before spending time on the Broncos practice squad in 2017 and subsequently landing in New Orleans on a two-year deal.
Bielema was also the head coach at Wisconsin during Montee Ball’s record-setting days before being selected by Elway in the second round of the 2013 draft.
Back to the current season, the Broncos drafted Royce Freeman, while Devontae Booker could share the role on early downs with someone else coming in on third down.
Last year’s fifth-round pick De’Angelo Henderson could be that guy and has shown glimpses of being elusive in space, but hasn’t been given much of a chance since he arrived in the Mile High City.
With plenty of uncertainty, it might not be as much of a surprise as some think to see Elway jump at the chance to keep his options open going into training camp by taking a player who can make things happen after contact and could make up for the loss of CJ Anderson in pass protection.
There are several reasons why Elway decided to take Williams when he could have gone in a dozen different directions in the seventh round.
As Pro Football Focus notes, Williams “forced 11 missed tackles on 124 carries and 395 of his 653 yards came after contact. He’ll need to perform well on third down if he is to carve out a future with Denver. With this in mind, the fact he gave up no quarterback pressures of any kind in the final nine games of the season in 2017 (45 snaps) likely weighed heavily in the decision to draft Williams.”
With the two new additions to the running back room, the Broncos now have four players, and more could join through free agency.