Although Denver Broncos starting running back Javonte Williams is progressing well in his rehab from a multi-ligament knee tear, the team is still more than willing to select a RB in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Broncos general manager George Paton joined head coach Sean Payton to discuss the team with local media in Denver this week, according to Mile High Huddle’s Chad Jensen.

“Javonte is doing really well in his rehab,” Paton told media, per Jensen. “We don’t have a date but we feel good. We feel good he’ll be back this season. Not entirely sure when but he’s progressing very well.”

When asked about the team’s strategy for the NFL Draft, Paton confirmed that they would take the best player on the board, even if that’s a running back.

“Like all the positions, like we just talked about with the O-linemen, if there’s a runner there, no matter what point in the draft, and he’s the best player on our board, we’ll take a running back,” Paton explained. “That’s for sure. We feel like, like I said earlier, with free agency, we addressed enough needs where we can take the best player throughout the draft.”

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Williams went down with a knee tear in Week 4 of the 2022-23 season, and although he’s progressing well, Paton added free agents Samaje Perine from the Cincinnati Bengals and Tony Jones Jr. from the Seattle Seahawks.

Denver is preparing for all scenarios, including one where Williams suffers a possible setback or doesn’t return to his pre-injury form.

“The Broncos’ big free-agent acquisitions seem to have liberated the front office from the compulsion to knee-jerk and draft players solely based on roster needs,” wrote Jensen on Friday.

“While every draft pick has both need and best-player-available elements, to a greater or lesser degree, the goal of every offseason is to have done enough work in free agency to not be bound by need come the NFL draft.”

Clearly, the Broncos feel comfortable taking the best player available in every round in April’s NFL Draft, regardless of Javonte Williams’ status.