Broncos Position Preview: Outside of QB, is running back the biggest position battle for Denver?

Editor’s note: Second in a series previewing the Broncos’ position groups entering training camp. Today, running backs.

On the roster (four): Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Jaleel McLaughlin, Audric Estime, Blake Watson

How many on the 53? Three. Possibly, four

Most impactful offseason move: Drafting Audric Estime

Denver answered a sneaky need during the draft by selecting Estime in the fifth round. Estime was one of the top running back prospects in this year’s class, as he rushed for 1,341 yards and 17 touchdowns in his final season for the Fighting Irish. Estime missed the majority of Denver’s offseason program, but head coach Sean Payton expects him to be a full-go at the start of training camp. 

Biggest question to answer in camp: Is Javonte Williams guaranteed to be the starter in 2024?

All eyes are on the three-man race to be Denver’s starting quarterback. What about the running back position? An argument can be made that this could be the second-most important position battle during the Broncos’ training camp since an efficient run game is essential in Payton’s offense. Williams only had three rushing touchdowns and averaged 31 yards in the last four games.

Denver expected an even stronger Williams, as he is two years removed from his ACL tear. At the same time, Payton also views Estime as an early-down running back. It will be important for Williams, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2025, to regain that physical run style that allowed him to be an impactful player as a rookie.

Battle to watch: McLaughlin vs. Perine

The Broncos have high expectations for McLaughlin, who has been working to improve as a receiver and a blocker. In 2023, Denver counted on Samaje Perine in third-down situations and he was a reliable target on checkdowns. If McLaughlin has a strong performance during training camp, maybe he could slide into that role. While McLaughlin has to get better in pass protection, he is quicker and can cover a ton of ground instantly.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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