ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos made a pair of roster moves on Monday:
- They signed rookie wide receiver Nick Williams, 23.
- They released veteran running back Damarea Crockett, 25.
The Broncos still have a full 90-man roster.
Nick Williams, 23, fits a similar mold as two receivers Sean Payton brought to Denver from New Orleans: Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. He’s a big-bodied pass catcher whose athleticism leaves something to be desired.
At his Pro Day, Williams measured in at 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds. His 40-yard dash (4.69 seconds) would have tied for the worst of any receiver at the NFL Combine. His vertical (32 inches) and his broad jump (9’11”) would have put him in the bottom three.
But there’s a silver lining: Williams shined in the change of direction drills. He ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.20 seconds, which would have been fifth-best at the combine. His 6.64 3-cone time would’ve placed him second behind only Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the first receiver chosen in April’s draft.
What do you do with a big receiver who can change direction but doesn’t have top-end speed? Put him in the slot. Last season, Williams played 77% of his snaps and produced 71% of his receiving yards from the slot, according to Pro Football Focus.
Williams, a Cherry Creek grad, spent five seasons at Division II CSU-Pueblo. In his final two seasons with the ThunderWolves, he produced 1,278 yards and seven touchdowns. He transferred to UNLV for his final season of eligibility and carved out a larger role as the season progressed. He finished with 438 yards and two touchdowns on 28 catches.
The odds are against Williams making the roster—his path probably starts with beating out Humphrey and Callaway for the depth “big receiver” job—but he could have a chance of making the practice squad. He’d have to beat out Taylor Grimes, another undrafted slot receiver.
The Broncos now have 13 receivers on the roster.
Damarea Crockett, a former teammate of Drew Lock’s at Missouri, went undrafted in 2019. He spent two years on practice squads before joining the Broncos in 2021.
In his first season in Denver, Crockett appeared in 12 games. He carried the ball three times for seven yards. He tore his ACL before the 2022 season and didn’t see the field.
Crockett was in a tight competition for a roster spot, although his recovery from the knee injury probably meant he was facing an uphill battle. He is the third running back to be released in the last week, following the departures of Jacques Patrick and Tyreik McAllister. The Broncos now have five running backs on the roster. At least three backs will make the team.