Denver Broncos general manager George Paton laid out his roadmap for the team's top pick in the impending 2021 NFL draft — a map fraught with various twists, turns and potential potholes, all leading to the same destination: Cleveland, Ohio.
All by design.
“We feel we’re in a good spot. There is going to be a really good, impact player (at No. 9) and we have the flexibility with the draft capital we have to move up or move down," Paton revealed to Ryan O'Halloran of the Denver Post.
Save for his painstaking, time-consuming, impressively thorough approach to the draft, which has included 200 Zoom calls and one-hour discussions per prospect, Paton did not disclose much to O'Halloran, true to his tight-lipped character.
The above quote is typical GM speak with the annual offseason spectacle mere days away. Denver may stay at No. 9 and nab a blue-chip player; they may also move up or down for said player. Non-earth-shattering news that anyone pounding a keyboard could tell you.
But Paton, who vowed upon his January hiring to be involved in every deal, did confirm his willing engagement in what are likely still-active trade talks. Plural. That, only he could tell you.
“I’ve already heard from teams that want to move up (to No. 9) … I’ve heard from one team that wants to move back (from the top eight),” Paton admitted.
Might the team seeking a trade-down be the Atlanta Falcons, who hold the No. 4 selection? The same team with whom the Broncos reportedly initiated contact? The lone barrier standing between Paton and the incoming quarterback supposedly of his dreams, Ohio State's Justin Fields or North Dakota State's Trey Lance?
The answer is 10 days away — and fast approaching.
“It’s happening now,” Paton said. “It seems to happen earlier and earlier every year. (This) week, we’ll start getting calls and the week of the draft is when things start heating up and the day of the draft is when it really heats up.”
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