Denver Broncos 4 stock up, 3 stock down following loss to 49ers

Which Denver Broncos players had their stock move up or down following their performance during Preseason Week 2?

Denver Broncos
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The Denver Broncos yet again dropped another close preseason game in the final seconds as the San Francisco 49ers win by a score of 21-20. Overall, there were a fair share of issues that prevailed in the second half which ultimately led to the game-winning field goal that defeated Denver however, there was also a solid number of players in the starting lineup as well as the back half of the depth chart that showed serious flashes of a potentially successful 2023 season.

While the Broncos have had issues with their depth in recent years, causing their injuries to be more impactful than they should be, there were a handful of backups that rose to the occasion in what was likely the most important game of their lives.

Denver Broncos Stock Up after preseason Week 2:

RB Javonte Williams

Even though he's the starter in Sean Payton's offense and his stock will always remain high as long he stays healthy and is involved in the game plan, Javonte Williams took a huge step in his journey back to stardom as he appeared in his first NFL game since Week 4 on October 2nd, 2022. It had been exactly 321 days since Williams had stepped foot in an NFL game which is approximately 10.5 months. With the severity of Williams' knee injury, he was estimated to recover in well over 12 months but instead, he beat the timetable by nearly two months despite multiple torn ligaments. At this point, he isn't even human.

On Saturday night, Williams received 13 total snaps while rushing three attempts for 12 yards and caught four passes for 18 yards on five targets. Out of a possible 13 snaps, Williams came away with a total seven touches in just his first game back from injury. That is more than 50% of the team's offensive usage going to one individual player. If that isn't clear-cut proof that Williams will be a vocal point of the offense in 2023, then I'm not sure what is. He looked great in live-game action as he has all of training camp and was constantly taking contact throughout his touches. It was a sigh of relief for Broncos fans to witness one of the faces of the offense back out on the field and looking more than 100% healthy. Fantasy football managers may want to take a hard look at drafting No. 33 in the orange and blue judging off how comfortable he looks on the field.

OLB Jonathon Cooper

The improvement Broncos OLB Jonathon Cooper has made from year two to year three is quite remarkable in the aspect that his pass rush ability looks much more dominant and explosive. Most importantly, the third-year edge rusher looks a lot more confident in his game and has been able to consistently take over practices and preseason games as a result of that. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has raved about Cooper as a player this offseason and the glaring reviews proved true in Saturday's preseason affair against the 49ers.

Cooper, 25, finished the game with two tackles, a sack, and a handful of pressures that constantly put the Niners quarterbacks under duress for the majority of the night as the Broncos coaches decided to keep their starting edge rushers in the game through all four quarters, despite their lengthy injury history. Coming off an incredible training camp for the Broncos and a great preseason showing, the Broncos will have no choice but to work Cooper into a rotational role behind Frank Clark in the regular season. If he continues to play like he did against San Francisco's offensive tackles, he very well can earn himself a starting role with the team, even with Browning returning from injury.