Broncos general manager George Paton broke with recent franchise tradition in trading up to take North Carolina running back Javonte Williams in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft Friday night.
Chosen with the 35th overall pick, Williams represents the highest-drafted running back for the Broncos since Knowshon Moreno was taken 12th overall in 2009, and the second-highest RB pick for the franchise since Steve Sewell went 26th overall in 1985.
Six running backs have been selected by the Broncos in the first two rounds of the draft in the past 35 years. Here’s a look at how the previous five fared:
|Year||Round (overall)||Player (School)||Games (starts)*||Att-Yds-TDs*|
|2013||2 (55)||Montee Ball (Wisconsin)||21 (3)||175-731-5|
|Comment: After a solid rookie season (704 total yards, four TDs), a groin injury sidelined Ball after just five weeks in ’15. He never played another regular-season down.|
|2009||1 (12)||Knowshon Moreno (Georgia)||60 (45)||845-3,468-26|
|Comment: Moreno submitted one 1,000-yard rushing season (2013) in five years in Denver, but was a capable pass-catcher (157 receptions-1,401 yards-9 TDs). Still, he never lived up to his billing as the top back taken in the 2009 draft. Especially with LeSean McCoy going 53rd overall to Philadelphia.|
|2004||2 (41)||Tatum Bell (Oklahoma State)||49 (17)||525-2,591-15|
|Comment: After a so-so rookie season, Bell ran for 1,946 yards and 10 TDs over the next two years. But that’s where he peaked. Bell was traded after his third season, returned for ’08, and was out of the league after that.|
|2002||2 (51)||Clinton Portis (Miami)||29 (25)||563-3,099-29|
|Comment: The former Hurricane was spectacular in two seasons in Denver (3,777 yards from scrimmage, 31 total TDs), but best served the Broncos as the centerpiece of a trade that brought Hall of Fame CB Champ Bailey to Denver.|
|1993||2 (43)||Glyn Milburn (Stanford)||48 (6)||159-698-1|
|Comment: An all-everything talent, Milburn made his bones as a Pro Bowl-caliber returner, with one of his two selections coming in his third and final season in Denver (1995). Milburn also had 137 receptions for 1,040 yards and six TDs in Denver. He played nine total seasons in the NFL, including stints in Detroit, Chicago and San Diego.|
* All stats compiled with Broncos only
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