This 2023 Broncos starter could be on a short leash after the NFL Draft

Denver Broncos
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Just one year after returning to the Denver Broncos following a missed 2023 season due to knee surgery, running back Javonte Williams will enter 2024 as healthy as ever. Despite that, the Broncos made two hefty commitments to running backs during the 2024 NFL Draft process: selecting Notre Dame running back Audric Estime with a 5th-round selection, and giving the highest undrafted free agent signing commitment of the year to Memphis running back Blake Watson.

After making those moves, the Broncos running back room has five major names: Williams, Watson, Estime, Jaleel McLoughlin, and Samaje Perine. The room is now packed, and it is fair to figure that the newest two members of the Broncos running back room are safe. After that, one could assume that only two more backs make the team, at the most.

Samaje Perine brings value to the team that none of the others do: a legitimate pass-catching back who shows up in the biggest moments. Perine was one of Russell Wilson's favorite two-minute drill receivers last year and provided immense value out of the backfield. There is fair reason to believe that Perine is an important member of the Broncos' air plan for Bo Nix in year one.

Next, that leaves Javonte Williams. Williams was the Broncos lead back last year, but he struggled mightily compared to what you might have expected. Williams posted just a 3.6 yards per attempt mark, 48.4 rushing yards per game, 14.3 receiving yards per game, and had a season-long run of just 21 yards. All of these marks for Williams were career lows.

Williams has just one year left on his rookie contract and is set to hit the market following the 2024 season. Williams might be on a short leash with the Broncos, for plenty of reasons. Williams is only 24, but considering his history of injuries and the depth in the Broncos room, he could quickly become an odd-man out if the likes of Watson, Estime, and McLoughlin continue to hold onto their spots, which it would be an upset if they don't, and Perine is too important of a pass catcher to move on from. Ultimately, 2024 could be Williams' finalé in Denver.