3. Backup running backs making their presence felt
The Denver Broncos don't have an opening for their RB1 or RB2 jobs. Those positions will be held by Javonte Williams (who has been doing well to open camp) and Samaje Perine, respectively.
Williams has been the subject of some of the biggest headlines this offseason as he makes an Adrian Peterson-like comeback from a major knee injury suffered last year against the Raiders. Perine is a veteran who can play all three downs and he came to Denver to play for Sean Payton, specifically. Perine sees a bigger role for himself in Denver than he had behind Joe Mixon in Cincinnati.
But who will the Broncos have behind those guys? As we saw last year, you need more than two capable backs on your roster.
The early favorites have to be second-year player Tyler Badie and rookie free agent Jaleel McLaughlin.
Badie was a sixth-round pick by the Ravens last year, and the Broncos signed him late in the season to see if he could factor in as a wild card option at the position in 2023. Badie scored the first time he ever touched the ball as a Denver Broncos player, which was also the first regular season NFL touch he'd ever had. Badie's explosiveness is a great contrast to the powerful running we'll see from Williams and Perine, but he's got a rookie nipping at his heels.
Perhaps the ideal practice squad candidate, Jaleel McLaughlin is going to do everything he can to keep the four running backs option on the table for the 53-man roster. McLaughlin is the NCAA all-time leading rusher, which is crazy when you really sit on that fact for a moment. He did his running at Youngstown State, but even though he didn't play in the SEC, his accomplishments are still staggering.
McLaughlin, like Badie, brings exceptional speed to the table and has been turning heads early on at Denver Broncos training camp.
Everyone should be eager for this team to get the pads on so we can really get an idea for what these running backs can do. Almost everyone at this position group that's fighting for positioning is going to be operating with a clean slate during preseason games because nobody has enough of an NFL sample on them to make definitive decisions on.