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Draft insights into George Paton and the Broncos

The Denver Broncos under George Paton are improving. We’re taking a look closely at what we learned about it in this year’s draft.

Denver Broncos First Round Draft Pick

Every year after the draft I feel like I learn more about the Broncos. Given that there are always changes in direction, front office, coaching, and personnel we get to see through the lens of the NFL draft what the Broncos think about their team and their future.

I’m not going to bore you with grades on picks or anything like that. What I want to do this week is point out the major takeaways I see from who the team picked.

1) Denver needs a QB, but didn’t love Justin Fields

With the team trading for Teddy Bridgewater right before the draft, George Paton, Vic Fangio, and the Broncos showed unequivocally that they are far from impressed with Drew Lock as a long-term prospect at starting QB.

So the logical choice is when Justin Fields falls to spot 9, you take him, right?

I think that line of thinking is a very “fan-oriented” one. I liked what I saw when I checked out the film on Fields, but I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not an NFL scout, coach, or front office employee. The depth they go into is exponentially deeper than what anyone in media does and includes factors that most of us don’t think of.

Justin Fields for some reason or another didn’t impress the Broncos.

2) The Broncos wanted a serious upgrade in talent at RB

Ask any NFL draft fan or media writer when you should take a RB and I bet you maybe 1 out of 100 will say, “2nd round.” That’s just not meta for what the position brings to the table in the NFL. You can get RB talent later in the draft that ends up being cheaper.

Nevertheless, the Broncos traded draft capital to move up and snag Javonte Williams before Miami could take him. This tells us that the Broncos REALLY liked him as a player. This also tells us that George Paton very clearly recalls what an impact a high talent RB can make to a team since he witnessed firsthand what Dalvin Cook brought to the table for the Minnesota Vikings.

3) Paton is setting up Fangio to succeed

Anytime a new GM gets hired, we talk about looking for them to bring in “their guys.” That means new coaches. That means new scouts.

At least for this year, the way the draft went shows me that George Paton was about making the Denver Broncos a better team with who they are and what they have right now.

With the past few years really trying to build an offense in the draft, Vic Fangio finally got to shore up the roster depth that was lacking. I don’t see Fangio as a lame duck. Sure, if the team stinks again he will likely be looking for a new job. That being said, I really don’t know how between the free agency moves and the NFL draft that Fangio is going to stink again.

4) The offensive line is in a good place

Nary a tackle was drafted by the Denver Broncos and I don’t for one second buy that they just had “bad luck” in landing tackles. There were tackles to be had in rounds 2 and 3 that Mike Munchak could have rounded into NFL form if it were a dire need.

Understanding that the refs changed how they called holding last season, the Denver Broncos offensive line was not the cause of our offensive woes last year. We didn’t have sack numbers through the roof like prior years and from what my eyes saw, the core issues had to do with some pretty atrocious passing by our quarterbacks.

The Broncos either really like who they have down the depth chart and think Munchak can get them ready in short order, or had a lot of faith in Ja’Wuan James. We may now need to make a free agency move to shore up the position with his season-ending early, but the Broncos didn’t see some big problem there that needed to be addressed.

5) That smoke about Aaron Rodgers is real

I’m not sure how things are going to turn out, but let me assure you that from everything I have seen, heard, and sniffed into the drama that happened on draft day with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers was not just NFL news flair.

I am very hopeful that we can put to bed any talk of a QB competition this year and that we won’t be writing about Teddy Bridgewater after each game. Much like when the Colts pivoted on Peyton Manning, I see the Green Bay Packers making some really grave mistakes dating back more than a year. I think the Broncos are once again set up to be the perfect destination for a future hall of fame QB.

Broncos News

Where the Broncos' roster stands after the 2021 NFL Draft
We take a position-by-position look at the team's roster in the aftermath of the team's 10-person draft class.

Broncos sign TE Eric Saubert, release QB Jeff Driskel
General Manager George Paton said Saturday the team hoped to add “another big guy that can block in-line

Broncos OT Ja'Wuan James tears Achilles; could miss 2021 season
Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James suffered a torn Achilles on Tuesday and could miss the upcoming 2021 season, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported.

Broncos' Pat Surtain II learned early what it takes to be a pro - Denver Broncos Blog- ESPN
Thanks to his father, Surtain started showing up in NFL locker rooms at a young age and he believes he's learned what it takes to stay in one.

Other NFL News

2021 NFL Draft: Lance Zierlein's three favorite picks by round
Which 2021 NFL Draft picks did draft analyst Lance Zierlein like most? He breaks down his three favorite picks from each round, including Kyle Pitts to the Falcons at No. 4 overall and Amari Rodgers to the Packers in Round 3.

2021 NFL Draft Report Card Report | Football Outsiders
The Bears get high marks for acquiring Justin Fields; the Browns do the same for finding value at several need positions. The Rams and Seahawks get dinged for having few picks in the first place. And the Aaron Rodgers drama in Green Bay leaves everyone confused.

Baltimore Ravens CB Marcus Peters calls out 'disrespectful' Los Angeles Rams for 2019 trade maneuvers
Marcus Peters said on the "Catchin Fades with Aqib Talib" podcast that he felt disrespected when the Rams traded him to the Ravens and then immediately replaced him by trading for Jalen Ramsey.

Jimmy Garoppolo prepared to help Trey Lance transition to 49ers - Sports Illustrated
49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is prepared to help rookie Trey Lance transition to the NFL.

Thursday Night Football: Amazon Prime will broadcast show in 2022 - Sports Illustrated
The 2021 season will be the last year Thursday Night Football will be on FOX.