Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams are both hoping the Denver Broncos will be one of the surprise breakout teams in 2021. If that happens, it will be due to several years of top draft picks finally developing into great football players.
However, Melvin Gordon is hoping this does not transpire with Javonte Williams. That said, if Williams takes off, how long can Gordon keep his job?
Is Melvin Gordon's time as a starter coming to an end?
Melvin Gordon: Ol' reliable
While Williams isn't going away anytime soon, Gordon still has plenty of reasons to bank on his candidacy as the starting running back in Denver. Gordon is coming off his third-best season in the NFL. Last season, Gordon rushed for 986 yards and nine touchdowns. He posted the second-best carry average of his career at 4.6 yards per carry.
If he can maintain his status as a rusher at that level, he may be able to hold off Williams for a couple of seasons. At 28, Gordon is still in his prime. If he can hold off Williams for two seasons, he will likely have completed his time as a starter in the NFL, but he will also have had a full career as a full-time starter.
Javonte Williams: The new kid on the block
Javonte Williams has plenty of reasons to believe he'll be the starter sooner rather than later. Above all, Williams is the shiny new toy for the Denver Broncos this year.
Having spent a second-round pick at running back, the Broncos will find it hard to resist opportunities to see him in games, especially as Williams gets more confident throughout the season.
In practice, players have already been saying he's looked great in press conferences. It will be hard to hold back the rookie. If Gordon has a rough down and Williams comes in and has a big rush, it will be a double-knock on Gordon and a double-boost for Williams in the eyes of the coaches. Williams already has all the biases of a high draft pick on his side.
Who will finish the year as the Broncos' starter at running back? Does the old bellcow still have it or will the shiny new rookie overtake the mentor?