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How ‘Locked’ in is Paton on the Broncos’ QB?

Broncos Country Tonight hosts discussed how much roster change George Paton is likely to insist upon for the 2021 season, including the coach.

The Broncos Country Tonight crew on Tuesday spent much of the show discussing and breaking down the introductory news conference for Broncos’ new GM, George Paton.

Much of the conversation revolved around a debate in Broncos Country - online and among media types - about whether Paton intends to keep his current coach and QB or if he’s likely to go find his own. And whether that would be this year or more likely a later one.

I personally cannot invest any time into guessing what Paton may or may not be thinking along those lines and will be happy to let the rest of the world consider the options and debate the potential outcomes.

But I liked a point that Allbright made when he said “the clock on a GM starts” when he goes after a franchise QB and/or hires a new coach.

I believe that is true, so even if it is futile to guess how Paton will act on those two fronts just yet, when he does - or doesn’t - we’ll have some insight into his desires going forward.

Status quo or no?

Paton was fairly non-committal on Drew Lock. Though he noted No. 3’s talent and potential to develop, it’s hard not to see where Paton also left the door open by pointing out that he hasn’t really “evaluated” Lock.

“The quarterback is the most important position in sports. If you don’t have stability at quarterback, you’re going to have a hard time sustaining winning. ...I think we all want the franchise quarterback, and the No. 1 goal is trying to draft and develop or acquire any way you can. When I was in Minnesota, I think we went to the playoffs with six different quarterbacks if I’m not mistaken. That’s not ideal, but you can still win if you don’t have the franchise guy. You can still win, but obviously we’re looking.”

But when it came to Vic Fangio, the fact that the coach was part of the GM search process and is included in Paton’s plans for evaluating players in the draft, the head coach’s job seems pretty safe in 2021.

“We’re aligned,” Paton said of the team philosophy between him, Fangio and John Elway. “We all believe that to draft and develop talent that you bring high character players into your organization, you develop them and hopefully get them second contracts, and that’s how you build your best culture. Now when you go outside, will you be aggressive and dip into free agency or the trade market? Yeah, every now and then, but it takes that right type of player to do that. I think we all believe in drafting and developing and making them into your own. That’s the best way to build a football team.”

In fact, Edwards noted that it’s even possible one of the reasons Paton chose Denver as his GM destination was partly because of the head coach and not in spite of him.

Whether that’s true is yet to be seen but it seems likely 2021 will be Fangio’s prove-it season for the new GM. But whether Lock has the same opportunity is perhaps less likely.

What is quite clear is that Paton has an affinity for strong players in the trenches, so if there’s any position he’s most excited about shoring up, it’s the offensive and defensive lines.

“..And then I think you said offense and defensive lines. I just think that’s the core of the team. I think you’re going to be in every game if you have a really strong defensive line and a really strong offensive line.”

Bonus listen

If you like digging into the weeds on specific college players whose names have been tossed around for potential Denver draft targets, give a listen to the BCT segment with Eric Crocker - an Arena football champion, by the way - who breaks down some film on Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

While Surtain is a top DB in the draft, Crocker doesn’t believe his skill set is very good for the Broncos’ scheme. So you may want to scratch that name off your list after considering Crocker’s review.