The first question to George Paton after the Broncos’ first-round draft selection of cornerback Patrick Surtain II was unsurprisingly about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and if Denver had been in talks to get the future Hall-of-Famer.
Paton’s avoidance was more telling than his actual words.
George Paton, when asked whether there were convrersations about Aaron Rodgers: “We’re just going to focus on the draft and Patrick Surtain."— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) April 30, 2021
And his commitment to the two main guys currently occupying the QB room was likely frustrating to a fan base clamoring for better QB play and wondering why the Broncos passed on Justin Fields when they could have gotten him at 9.
“We’re happy with the two quarterbacks that we have here,” Paton said, noting that Drew Lock is “working hard every day” and newly acquired Teddy Bridgewater will bring much-needed experience and leadership. “We are really excited for both quarterbacks. We’re always looking to improve positions, and quarterback is another one. But we like who we have.”
Paton even added that he’s “good to go” with that room for the season - giving no obvious hint at whether Broncos want to pursue Rodgers.
“I’m happy with the room right now. We are going to look at every position. Are there many quarterbacks just hanging out? Not many, if any,” he said. “We’re happy to open the season with the guys we have now, but we are open to improving everywhere.”
According to Paton, the Broncos liked Fields but had Surtain higher on their board.
So rather than go “position of need,” Paton veered toward “best player available.”
“Our board fell to where Surtain was there, and we couldn’t pass him up,” Paton said. “He was just too talented, too unique. Too good off the field, too good on the field. I’m familiar with his dad and his family. It was a home run for the Broncos.”
It was a home run, but part of the question by Broncos fans and analysts is whether the team missed out on the grand slam.
The only thing that could make the process even worse is if this is true. https://t.co/2Rf89MMkED— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) April 30, 2021
Paton noted that he and Fangio have been upfront with Lock from Day 1 about their plans at quarterback - bring in competition. And Lock has embraced that.
“He likes the competition, and nothing fazes Drew,” Paton said. “He is on a mission this offseason. He is here every morning and he stays late. He is doing all of the right things. We are excited to see his progress as we move forward.”
As for Bridgewater, Fangio felt the veteran looked good when the Broncos played the Panthers last season and he had to study the quarterback for game prep.
“I was impressed by it,” Fangio said, noting that before that, the last time he’d coached against Bridgewater was before his leg injury in Minnesota. The last time I coached against him before Week 14 was prior to his injury in Minnesota. “He is young for his age. He has overcome the injury he had in Minnesota. I thought he played good for Carolina. I was impressed studying him that entire week.”
Paton believes “the game is really easy” for Bridgewater and that gives him a comfort level playing.
“He moves the team. He plays in rhythm. He makes the players around him better. We like the way he plays,” Paton added. “He throws on time and the offense is in rhythm. That’s what we liked when we watched the tape.”
Yet the rumors/reports about Rodgers coming to Denver have not abated.
"I get a message from @AaronRodgers12— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 30, 2021
"who's your source? what are you hearing?"
I'm like this is what I heard.. Is it true? You want to come over & get dinner?
He didn't pour cold water on it he said I'll let you know as soon as I know" ~ @markschlereth #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/w3g1FWHIGY