ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Shortly after reporting to UCHealth Training Center on Saturday ahead of their first NFL training camp, second-round pick Javonte Williams and third-round pick Quinn Meinerz have signed their rookie contracts.
With the two signings, the Broncos' 2021 draft class is officially all under contract.
Williams, the 35th-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was selected by the Broncos after the team traded up when it appeared Williams wouldn't fall to their original spot at No. 40.
A former North Carolina Tar Heel, Williams was the third running back off the board, but several members of the Broncos' coaching and front-office staffs said they believed he was the best prospect at his position.
"I think he's the best overall back in the draft," Running Backs Coach Curtis Modkins said, as documented in the team’s behind-the-scenes draft series. "Has a really good skill set. He can elude in tight spaces, stop [and] start, really good short-area burst. He's good in pass protection, too, which stands out. He's really good in pass pro. Great kid to talk to, easy to talk to. He's as good as it gets in that area."
Williams joins a talented group at running back along with 2020 starter Melvin Gordon III, veteran Royce Freeman, free-agent signing Mike Boone and a few other young players.
Meinerz, the 98th-overall pick, is expected to compete at center and guard as a rookie.
The Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater product caught the Broncos' eye after a strong performance at the 2021 Senior Bowl.
"The challenge is obviously that they didn't have football this year at Whitewater," General Manager George Paton said after the draft. "We had to go back two years ago when he was 20 pounds heavier, he had a neck roll and he kind of looked like a hunchback on tape. He dominated the competition, but the competition was around [Head Coach] Vic [Fangio]'s size. It was hard to evaluate until we went to the Senior Bowl. He lost 20 pounds, he was in shape and he fared well against elite competition. When you evaluate that, you interview the kid, you get his background. He ran a 4.89 or 4.9[-second 40-yard dash]. [He's a] really good athlete, loves the physicality of the game. I think that he is going to fit in with our group and [Offensive Line] Coach [Mike] Munchak. He has a lot of upside."