Denver Broncos rookie general manager George Paton is not saying he will select a quarterback in the first round of next month's NFL draft.
But he's not not saying that, either.
“We’re open to any position with that first pick," Paton stated during a virtual press conference on Thursday. "We’re going to take the best player that can help this football team. Quarterback, safety—it doesn’t matter what player and what position. If it’s the best player on the board, we’re going to take him.”
He added: 'We're going to be aggressive and we’re going to be in every deal. It doesn’t mean we’re going to make that deal but we’re going to look into everything whether it is a quarterback or a defensive lineman. Anything that helps our football team we’re going to pursue.”
Realistically speaking, the best player on the board when Denver's up to bat on April 29 likely will be a cornerback, linebacker, or offensive lineman — all distinct positions of need. There are five first-round-caliber QBs in this year's class (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Mac Jones), and four could go within the first eight picks.
At which point leaving Paton with a slew of potential quandaries: Eschew a Caleb Farley or Micah Parsons or Penei Sewell for Jones, whom the Broncos reportedly have been all over to this point in the pre-draft pick? Trade up for a Fields or Lance, the type of gunslinger historically coveted by the organization?
Or fill another roster hole because Paton already added competition for incumbent starter Drew Lock in free agency?
With chaos looming on the NFL calendar, John Elway's successor cracked more than one door open.
“I did a deep drive on Drew. Like I said in my [introductory] press conference, [he’s] very talented," Paton said. "He was inconsistent at times and has a lot to work on, but I’ve spoken with Drew. I see him every day. He’s here early and he’s working. He really wants to be great. We’re always going to try and bring in competition to every position, the quarterback as well. I like the trek that Drew is on.”
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