Building a roster capable of taking the Denver Broncos back to NFL relevancy means new GM George Paton will have to use both free agency and the draft to maximum effect. While some experts might question Paton's signing of cornerback Ronald Darby and the parting of ways with Phillip Lindsay in particular, the GM believes his moves so far have set the Broncos up nicely to attack the draft.
“We did a good job in free agency filling needs so now we can grab the best player available,” Paton said via the team site. “That was the goal from the very beginning.”
Fairly early into Paton's tenure, it’s clear he is going for a more old-school approach, and from that, we can infer that he'll be true to his word by selecting the best available player when he hands in his draft card on April 29.
Entering the 2021 offseason, cornerback was a gaping hole to fill, which was partly self-inflicted after Paton released veteran A.J. Bouye, but the GM addressed the problem by splurging on Darby and lucking into ex-Chicago Bears' All-Pro Kyle Fuller. Logic says those major splashes must now push the top-two rated college corners in Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley and Alabama's Patrick Surtain II further down his list of draft targets, especially as the buzz mounts around moving up to get a QB.
Either way, it’s an abiding commitment to scouting the best prospects that is the goal of Paton and the entire organization. Led by the new GM, the top brass has attended numerous college Pro Days, including director of college scouting Brain Stark, who recently shared his initial impressions of his new front-office boss.
“He’s a scout, there’s no doubt,” Stark said of Paton. “He approaches the Pro Days the same that me or anyone else on the college staff would… He’s engaged with the sources at the schools.”
Paton will be intent on leaving no stone unturned as he looks to make the right moves from the get-go in his maiden draft as GM. His decisions later this month could come to define his entire tenure.
The extra miles traveled could ultimately identify the Broncos' next QB, and perhaps convince Paton to part with some coveted draft capital to trade up to secure one.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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