Rookie running back Javonte Williams' NFL preseason debut was more impressive than even his solid five-carry, 29-yard stat line would suggest. The Broncos' second-round selection also showcased his ability to break tackles and racked up a stiff-arm and a touchdown that was ultimately called back on a penalty.
Williams' dominant first action in Week 1 against the Vikings has left NFL analysts with nothing but good things to say about the rookie rusher.
"Williams' first NFL efforts showed he will help either quarterback [Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock] succeed," Chad Reuter of NFL.com wrote.
Williams earned an A- rating on NFL.com for his Broncos debut, with Reuter declaring "so far, so good for Denver's top-35 overall selection."
The Denver Post was also high on Williams performance, projecting a 1,000-yard season for the young running back following his first preseason performance.
"Here's a double fist bump [for Broncos GM George Paton] for the selection of Williams," Mark Kizsla of the Denver Post said. "If the rookie stays healthy, he's a lock for 1,000 yards rushing."
Though he acknowledged that the preseason isn't always the best representation of a young player's potential, Kizsla was still ready to declare Williams a win.
"At the risk of playing the fool," Kizsla said, "allow me to shout: Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams is the real deal!"
Below the Fold
The Athletic released their second annual 'NFL 40 Under 40' report on Monday, with two Broncos front office members making the list for 2021.
Executive Director of Football Operations/Special Advisor to the General Manager Kelly Kleine, 30, joined the Broncos this year. She spent nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before accepting a job in Denver alongside new Broncos GM George Paton, who also came to Denver from Minnesota this spring.
"She is now the highest-ranking female football executive in Broncos history and will be involved in both pro personnel (evaluating free agents) and college scouting," Lindsay Jones of The Athletic wrote.
Paton was full of praise for Kleine's contributions to the Denver front office so far.
"Kelly's work ethic, organizational skills and ability to collaborate with so many different areas of football operations make her an invaluable part of our staff," Paton told The Athletic.
Also representing Denver on the list is Senior Vice President of Strategy Brittany Bowlen, 31. Bowlen, the daughter of late Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen, earned her senior VP title earlier this year.
Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis spoke highly of Bowlen recently, commending her on her hard work and her desire to build her own legacy instead of relying on her family name.
"She's just come in here and tried to earn everybody's trust and respect," Ellis said, "and I think she's done a really good job of that."