Yesterday was exciting for the Denver Broncos, who dipped their hands into the NFL Draft for the first time this year and selected WR Marvin Mims, LB Drew Sanders, and CB Riley Moss.
In a presser following the event last night, head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton shared some insight on their strategy behind securing these players, including the decision to trade up yesterday.
"All week, we kind of had some players that we had targeted. ... We just didn't want to lose those players."— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 29, 2023
Broncos trade up twice on Day 2 of 2023 #NFLDraft » https://t.co/Iq4rYcK7K4 pic.twitter.com/IAaqtzdbHH
“All week, we kind of had some players that we targeted, and if they fell close enough to us, we’d go get,” Payton explained, noting that Mims and Moss were both results of that. “We didn’t lose any picks this year—we still stayed with our five. We just felt they were really good value for where we took them and that’s why we moved up and got them.”
Sean Payton added that during the process leading up to the draft, one of the ways they prepared was by asking “What’s our vision?”
“George and I look at each other and there’s a clear vision for the receiver,” Payton said, referencing Mims’ return skills, character, and intelligence, “He’s someone that can play at Z. He can play at X. He brings an element of speed you can feel on tape.”
Asked whether the decision to draft Mims impacts their decision to pick up WR Jerry Jeudy’s option, George Paton chimed in and insisted that it’s not a factor.
“I think Mims is going to complement what we have. Again, he’s going to compete, but it has nothing to do with any of our receivers.”
According to Payton, the vision for Drew Sanders was a bit different for different teams because of his versatility. “He’s played some outside linebacker. He’s played some inside linebacker; he had a ton of pressure production last year,” he explained, “Our vision for him is at inside linebacker and four-core special teams player who can go and stem down to the outside.”
In addition to the potentially-punt-returning WR and a new inside LB, Payton and Paton have a clear vision for Riley Moss, “and that vision is corner.”
Moss costed them a trade, too. Paton/Payton gave up a third-round 2024 pick in order to move up and select him. This isn’t a decision they regret, especially considering they have another third-round pick next year.
“Obviously, we want quality, and we feel like he’s a quality player and he’s going to help us,” Paton revealed, “We had him in here on a visit.”
“We loved the makeup,” he continued, “He aced the offseason, the Senior Bowl and the combine, and then we brought him in on a visit. The coaches met with him. They Zoomed, and we spent a lot a lot of time with this player. We feel really good about the trade.”
Ultimately, a player’s makeup is a major deal to this front office. The GM expressed that they’re excited about the makeup in the players they’ve chosen so far. “Obviously, it’s the player—everything you see on tape and then you have the testing and all the other mental part of it. How is the football character? How is the off-field character. That is huge,” he admitted.
Above and beyond discussing the vision and strategy for this year, Paton shared the support they’ve received from the Broncos’ ownership group. The Walton-Penners have been incredibly involved, including being present for Day 1 despite not having any picks.
“We met with them early in the week, and they kind of knew the plan. It’s hard to plan when your first pick is in the third round, but I felt like the plan went as we expected,” Paton continued, “I think it was really good for them to see their first draft and be a part of it.”
According to Paton, the ownership group has also been asking a number of questions about what they can do during the process and how they can assist. “Long story short, it was outstanding. They were part of the collaboration. When we were trading and were discussing the players, Greg had great questions, and Carrie had great questions...it’s been outstanding.”