Predicting a full stat-line for Denver Broncos running backs in 2022

Denver Broncos, Javonte Williams (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Javonte Williams (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos should have a very good rushing attack in 2022. What kind of production can we expect from this unit with Nathaniel Hackett?

Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon form a very lethal running back duo for the Denver Broncos.

What the Broncos have is what few teams do–they’ve got a deep receiving core that can carry an offense and two RB1-talent players.

The Broncos should be able to win games through the air and on the ground.  Both Williams and Gordon are tough runners with well-built frames who should be able to tire out defenses in 2022.

Since many fans love numbers, this article will try and predict each running back’s output for the 2022 season.

I am going to use a similar method that I used in a piece where I predicted Russell Wilson’s 2022 production.  That is worth a read.

I want to do the same thing with Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon.

Fortunately, the Broncos seem to have a comparable 1-2 running back duo like the Green Bay Packers had during Nathaniel Hackett’s tenure as offensive coordinator.

So, let’s begin.

What kind of production can we expect from Denver Broncos RBs?

Green Bay rushed the ball 25.4 times per game in 2019, 27.5 times per game in 2020, and 25.9 times per game in 2021.  Averaged out, that would be roughly 26 rushes per game for the Denver Broncos in 2022.

Now, we need to figure out how these carries will be distributed.

Since I think it’s a safe bet that Javonte Williams will begin the season as the RB1, we can use Aaron Jones’ average carries per game from 2019-2021, since Jones has been the RB1 in Green Bay for a few years.

Jones carried the ball 14.8 times per game in 2019, 14.4 times per game in 2020, and 11.4 times per game in 2021.

That’s an average of 13.53 or 14 carries per game.  So, Javonte Williams could expect around 14 carries per game.  Obviously, this is going to vary from week to week, depending on the opponent, and other factors, including injuries.

Javonte Williams averaged 4.4 yards per attempt in 2021, his rookie season.

I’m going to bump that up to 4.5 yards per attempt, simply because it’s likely that Williams will be a more efficient runner in 2022.  He’ll probably average more than 4.5 yards per attempt, but we’ll keep it at this number.

If Williams carries the ball 14 times per game and averages 4.5 yards per attempt, he’ll gain 63 yards per game, which is 1,071 over a 17-game season.

If we take Aaron Jones’ three years’ worth of touchdowns in Nathaniel Hackett’s offense, we’d get roughly 10 rushing touchdowns.

So, I’m going to project that Javonte Williams has 238 rushes for 1,071 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022.

These aren’t elite numbers, but given that Melvin Gordon is going to get his carries, and the nature of the Packers’ offense, Williams may not light it up like we think, even though he has the talent to do so.

Let’s do Melvin Gordon now since he’ll probably be the RB2 in this offense.

The RB2 in Green Bay has been AJ Dillon, so we’ll reference his numbers.

AJ Dillon has been in the league for two years and has averaged 8.3 attempts per game.  Let’s round that down to 8 for Melvin Gordon.

Gordon has averaged 4.6 yards per attempt in Denver.  So, if he has 8 attempts per game and averages 4.6 yards per attempt, he’ll gain roughly 36.8, or 37 yards per game.  Over a 17-game season, he’d gain 629 yards on the ground on 136 attempts.

AJ Dillon averages 3.5 touchdowns per year.  Since the rounding rule of thumb is five or higher, add one more, we’ll bump that up to 4 touchdowns.

So, I’m going to project that Melvin Gordon has 136 rushes for 629 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2022.

I do think a noticeable decline in Gordon’s production is likely.  He’s 29 years old and should be the clear RB2 over Javonte Williams.  Williams is in a perfect position to take the bulk of the carries, and I think he could indeed do that.

Put together, the Denver Broncos’ top two running backs will combine for 374 rushes, 1,700 yards, and 14 touchdowns.

How would this sound, Broncos Country?