The Broncos think to start their third preseason game, third-round back Melvin Gordon will make his NFL debut. That’s what head coach Vance Joseph told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King just hours before the top pick of the 2017 draft finally made his NFL debut.
It’s another reminder of Gordon’s quick ascent through the NFL after being selected by the Chargers with the No. 32 pick of the first round back in 2017.
“Not only did I get to play (this year), but I saw some of these people that I didn’t get to see before,” Gordon told reporters after the game. “That’s the impact I want to make.”
Not wanting to make it hard for the fans to start booking flights to La Jolla, Gordon even explained what Denver is like.
“It’s pretty good,” he said. “It’s a lot of people, an awesome stadium, a lot of football.”
Perhaps Denver’s best fans are their own. This is the Broncos, after all.
Gordon was about a week-and-a-half late to training camp due to a groin injury that kept him out of the team’s first two practices. Though he says the injury is over with, Gordon admitted that he lost about 12 pounds during his recovery. He acknowledged that he rushed back in order to keep up with a fast-paced training camp.
“I played last year and was just trying to get back early to catch up,” Gordon said. “This time around I wanted to be out there because I needed to be working towards this season, not just getting through camp. I wanted to be on the field and see how I looked.”
The Chargers offense is clearly moving in a new direction, with former Chargers first-round pick Keenan Allen drafted by the Rams and the Chargers this past offseason, as well as former Broncos wide receiver and 2017 fourth-round pick Isaiah McKenzie.
Even Gordon’s long-time rival Javonte Williams helped him out, as he led a lively pregame chant that at times gave Gordon crowd energy before he started the game. Gordon finished the game with 20 touches for 93 yards.
The Broncos welcomed Gordon with open arms, of course. It was pretty obvious the crowd of 74,167 had their eye on Javonte Williams to win it all in 2019 and beyond. Gordon thinks that Denver, for at least one night, might be the next place for him, starting in 2022.
“I got to see what they do here and learn it. But I think, coming here in three years, I’ll feel comfortable,” Gordon said. “I want to be here.”
Javonte Williams did his best to steal the show, leading a spirited ‘Let’s go Broncos!’ chant in pregame, keeping fans on their feet late into the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach, and ending his night with a couple more cheers to end the stadium on an emotional high.
We don’t think the end is in sight for Williams, though, as he finished with 13 total tackles, breaking up a pass in the end zone and making a couple of key tackles at the goal line to help seal the win in the fourth quarter.
After the game, we’ll know more about how the Broncos feel about their backfield, as they’ll be able to see how Demaryius Thomas holds up at age 31. After that, we’ll get to watch them try to stop Gordon.
Follow Nicki Jhabvala on Twitter @NickiJhabvala