Latavius Murray can become Denver Broncos RB1 sooner than later

Denver Broncos, Latavius Murray (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Latavius Murray (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos have lost starting running back Javonte Williams for the entire 2022 season, and the severity of his injury has put his status for the start of the 2023 season in question as well. Considering how early it is in the season, the Denver Broncos took action by replacing Williams on the roster with a veteran that has experience. They poached Latavius Murray off of the New Orleans Saints practice squad, just a day after he had a strong performance for them in London against the Vikings.

The Broncos plucked Devine Ozigbo in the offseason off of waivers from the Saints as well, so they have obviously liked what they’ve seen from that group of running backs. Murray was offered a 53-man roster spot by the Saints after averaging over five yards per carry and scoring a touchdown in London, but he chose the Broncos’ offer instead. The question now becomes, what did the Broncos offer Murray that the Saints couldn’t?

Can Latavius Murray become the Denver Broncos RB1 by season’s end?

As of right now, the Denver Broncos appear to understand as much as anyone that although Melvin Gordon is a veteran back with a ton of experience, he cannot be fully trusted at this point in time. Broncos Country collectively holds its breath every time Gordon touches the ball these days, so he’s going to have to earn his way back into the circle of trust after fumbling four times in four games to open this season, five times in five games dating back to last season.

Latavius Murray has one fumble in the last five seasons, by the way, which includes over 650 total touches offensively. Not only does George Paton have familiarity with Murray having helped bring him in as a member of the Vikings’ front office once upon a time, but Murray obviously has a history of being a trustworthy, dependable player.

Perhaps more than anything right now, that’s what the Denver Broncos need in the backfield. Of course, a big performance for Melvin Gordon against the Colts could change a lot of opinions, but the faithful fans in Broncos Country will gladly take a steady if not boring performance from a running back like Murray gave the Saints last weekend every single week if it means no fumbles.

Murray logged his 50th career rushing touchdown this past weekend and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him help the Denver Broncos in the red zone where his big 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame is tough to keep away from the goal line. Over the course of his NFL career, Murray has averaged over four yards per carry and while nobody wants to see Javonte Williams go down with an injury, his availability at this point in time could be divine intervention from the football gods.

As for the question of whether he can overtake Melvin Gordon as the RB1 in Denver? That will take some time to play out. The Broncos have a short week against the Colts and it’s not likely we’ll see Murray as anything but an emergency option. With that being said, starting in Week 6, he could have a massive role in the offense.