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Running Backs the Broncos can Draft to Take Over for Melvin Gordon

Devon Platana
Running Backs the Broncos can Draft to Take Over for Melvin Gordon
Running Backs the Broncos can Draft to Take Over for Melvin Gordon / Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

After spending his first five seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, Melvin Gordon joined the Denver Broncos in 2020.

In his first season with the Broncos, Gordon suited up in 15 games, racking up 1,144 total yards and 10 touchdowns.

While those stats aren't anything to sneeze at, Gordon hasn't played a full 16-game NFL season since 2017. He's also set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. With the low success rate of free agent running backs, the Broncos may decide to let him walk.

Even if he's not in their long-term plans, having Gordon as the RB1 in 2020, the team can afford to wait until the middle rounds of the draft to address the position. Here are three players they can target.

1. Javonte Williams

Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Javonte Williams
Javonte Williams registered 1,140 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns at North Carolina last season. / Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Javonte Williams could be a realistic second or even third-round option depending on how this year's draft plays out. The North Carolina running back got better in each of his collegiate seasons, finishing with 1,445 total yards and 22 touchdowns in 2020. He averaged 6.3 rushing yards per attempt in his college career.

2. Najee Harris

Najee Harris
Najee Harris had an astounding 26 rushing touchdowns in his last season at Alabama. / Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Projected to be a late first-round pick, Najee Harris could very well fall to the early second. We saw something similar with top prospects like Jonathan Taylor and D'Andre Swift last year. Harris was a force for Alabama over the last four seasons. He totaled 4,624 yards and 57 touchdowns from scrimmage during that time. A total of 30 touchdowns came in the 2020 season alone. The Alabama Crimson Tide also won the last National Championship, so Harris has a winning pedigree,

3. Kenneth Gainwell

Kenneth Gainwell
Kenneth Gainwell recorded 16 total touchdowns in his first full season at Memphis. / Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell could be someone that the Broncos can grow more than he already has in college. While he opted out of the 2020 season for COVID-19 reasons, Gainwell showed what he could do in 2019. After barely touching the ball the previous year, he recorded 2,069 total yards and 16 touchdowns in his full freshman season. With teams not being able to see him play in 2020, Gainwell could fall back to the Broncos in later rounds, and having a year to get back up to speed at the NFL level behind Gordon could really help him thrive.

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