Williams signed his rookie contract with the Broncos on Saturday.
With the formality now complete, the 2021 second-round pick is thus set to showcase his skillset during Denver's training camp. While there's still plenty of ambiguity regarding Williams' week-to-week role ahead of his rookie campaign, it seems all but certain a tandem of Melvin Gordon and Williams will dominate the backfield touches provided both stay healthy.
Williams is a candidate to lead the Broncos in both rushing attempts and yards this coming season, according to Ryan O'Halloran of the Denver Post.
Assuming returning starter Melvin Gordon turns in a productive training camp, O'Halloran envisions a scenario in which Gordon tends to take Denver's "first snap/series of the game" early on this season, while the team "eases Williams into a bigger role each week." With that in mind, fantasy managers who invest in the rookie may need to exercise a degree of patience out of the gate, but as the 2021 campaign unfolds, Williams' profile in the offense -- and within the looming time-share -- figures to grow. As O'Halloran points out, the Broncos, who traded up in the second round of this past April's draft to take Williams 35th overall "weren't high-fiving and fist-pumping in the draft room because he will watch this year."
The Broncos selected Williams in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, 35th overall.
Denver traded up ahead of Miami to get the top running back on the board, nabbing Williams out of North Carolina. Williams broke out as a junior in 2020, taking 157 carries for a whopping 1,140 yards and 19 touchdowns in just 11 games. Running through defenders is his standout trait, as he broke 50 tackles in 2020. However, he did not test as a standout athlete, checking in with a 4.58-second 40-yard dash at 5-foot-10 and 212 pounds. He split time with Michael Carter during his time at North Carolina and will likely be in a committee behind Melvin Gordon in Denver.
The Raiders selected Leatherwood in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, 17th overall.
This comes as a bit of a surprise given that Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw and Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins were still on the board, but Leatherwood nonetheless fills a need. The Alabama product won the Outland Trophy as the nation's best offensive lineman as a senior in 2020 and has experience at both guard and tackle. His projection to the next level is a bit trickier, though, as there are questions regarding his ability to handle speed rushers. He's still a powerful blocker with size to stick at tackle or guard and is an instant improvement to a revamped Las Vegas line.