In two short years, general manager George Paton has completely transformed the Denver Broncos. He skipped addressing the quarterback position in last year’s draft and elected, instead, to draft cornerback Patrick Surtain. That predictably led to another failed season, but in hindsight that move will make this team a much better one now that the quarterback situation is resolved.
The trade for former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was Paton’s master stroke in his two year remake of the Broncos. They added some depth in the 2022 NFL Draft, but they already had an incredible young offensive core for Wilson to work with.
Sam Monson, over at Pro Football Focus graded each team’s offseason on Monday and of the four ‘A’ grades or higher given, Denver received one of them.
Offseason Grade: A
Free Agency Grade: Above Average
Draft Grade: B+
Few teams made a bigger move in the offseason than the Broncos, who finally found a franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson via trade. Last offseason, this roster was an elite quarterback away from contending, and while it isn’t quite the same roster, they will be hoping that enough of the important pieces remain so that the same thing is true.
Critically, the Wilson trade didn’t cost them any key components of the offense other than tight end Noah Fant, and they have a replacement already in house in Albert Okwuegbunam. Adding Randy Gregory in free agency also gives them a legitimate pass-rusher after trading away Von Miller last year.
In the draft, Denver added another pass-rush specialist in Nik Bonitto, who owns the best pass-rush win rate of any pass rusher in the draft class over the last two years. Greg Dulcich adds depth to that tight end room again, and now Denver has to hope that it has the system in place to maximize Wilson.
I’ll acknowledge that Noah Fant was decent, but there were times when I felt he and fourth-round pick Albert Okwuegnunam were similar on the field. Sometimes I felt Albert O was better. I really don’t think they’ll miss much of a beat with that subtraction on offense. With Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, and Albert O, Wilson will have no shortage of weapons to work with this season.
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