Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams splashed onto the scene in 2021, netting 903 yards and four TDs on 203 attempts as a rookie.
Even the 21-year-old North Carolina product was surprised by how much success he had out of the gate.
"I definitely did more than I expected I was going to do," Williams recently told the team's official website. "I ain't really expect to have the season that I did. I'm pleased with myself for right now. But I know I still got a whole lot of work to do, getting better."
Dating back to preseason games, it was easy to see Williams' potential as a quick slasher with wiggle in a phone booth and power to run over arm tackles. That all translated into regular-season action where the young back proved he has the talents to carry the load.
His new coach Nathaniel Hackett praised what he's seen from Williams.
"Holy [cow], he's impressive," Hackett said from the NFL Scouting Combine, via The Denver Post. "I didn't realize he was as fast as he is and as powerful as he is. I remember him from coming out of college last year and how good he was, but being able to meet him and his intelligence, he's the all-around package and a guy you can do a lot of things with."
Williams paired with Melvin Gordon to form a potent 1-2 punch in Denver's backfield. Gordon is headed toward free agency, and while both sides have said they'd like to re-up the relationship, the Broncos are in good hands if Williams gets the full workload.
The young runner is preparing for the chance that he's the main back in the room.
"Just being more a vocal leader," Williams said. "I feel like the way I played last year, how I work and things like that, I've kind of got a voice on the team now. So I feel like I can use my voice more instead of being so closed off and not talking as much."
Williams owns the talent to be a three-down back. His mean running allows him to churn out tough yards while gashing defenses for chunk gains. He's already a solid pass catcher (43 receptions for 316 yards and 3 TDs) and should improve with more opportunities. If there is one hole to his game that needs work this offseason, it's blitz pickup and getting stronger in pass protection.
Williams' goals in Year 2 aren't individual but rather team-oriented.
"Definitely want to win a Super Bowl and make the playoffs," Williams said, "so that's a lot of hard work we've got to put in for OTAs."