In his first draft as a GM, George Paton feels good about the players and value Broncos added last weekend. “We still have a lot of work to do, but we do believe that we got better.”
Seven of the 10 newly drafted Broncos will suit up for Vic Fangio’s highly touted defense – and GM George Paton is just fine with that.
“It’s been heavy offensive drafts before I came, and we have a young group of players that need to develop,” he said, noting “a few tweaks here and there” to the offense, including bringing in Teddy Bridgewater to the quarterback room and not drafting a quarterback in the first round. “The offense is going to grow and continue to grow. I like the young offensive talent. …I do think we added quite a bit of players that can help us.”
Hall-of-Famer Steve Atwater agrees.
“I think [Paton] did an amazing job. I love the first pick, the second pick. I loved all of them to be honest with you,” he said, adding that as a team, Broncos “definitely” got better. “Especially defensively. We had a lot of holes last year. Paton did a great job getting guys who can come in and help whether it be playing time or special teams.”
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) May 3, 2021
For Fangio – whose oft-heralded defense got a nice boost with the highest-ranked cornerback in the Draft as well as a couple of linebackers, safeties and defensive linemen -this wasn’t necessarily the plan, but it’s one he can certainly handle.
“That wasn’t the plan by any means. It was just the way the board fell,” Fangio said, adding that when Denver was on the clock, the best player available usually had a big separation between him and the next guy on their board. “We didn’t have any plans to do that, but I like the competition it has created. We obviously have a good bit of defensive backs. …That will be a competitive position group this training camp.”
Some of the decision for players came down to their ability to play good special teams in addition to their position – particularly guys chosen on the third day like wide receiver Seth Williams.
“He is like a piece of clay. He’s really talented. He’s big, and he can run,” Paton said. “As a receiver, he just needs to be molded. Zach [Azzanni] can’t wait to get a hold of him and develop him. He believes in him as well as our special teams coaches. Special teams were a big part of our third day, and he was one of the best special teamers as a receiver.”
When it came to selecting Kary Vincent Jr., the speedy cornerback out of LSU, Paton agreed they didn’t necessarily need another cornerback, but the talent was too good to pass up. Vincent opted out of the 2020 season and that probably caused his draft stock to fall; the Broncos wanted to take advantage of a player who had been a starting nickelback in 2019 and had four interceptions.
“It wasn’t that we needed a corner, but he was sticking out like a sore thumb,” Paton said. “This kid is really talented…He can play nickel and he’s played safety. I think he’s a good kid, but if we can him in the right health to be a pro, I think he can be a really good player.”
“George is very, very thorough. He’s got a good demeanor about him. … It was a very collaborative effort.”
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) May 2, 2021
The only obvious position not addressed at all over the weekend was quarterback. Paton did address that in the presser.
“I like our room right now. I think I said that last night,” Paton pointed out, adding again that Bridgewater will be there to compete with Drew Lock. “That’s what we’ve wanted all along. We’ll let them compete. I like the room. Does it mean we won’t continue to look? No, but I say that about every position. I look forward to getting Teddy here, and he and Drew having a great competition.”
As rumors of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers possibly landing in Denver continue to swirl, Paton is only talking about the quarterbacks he has on the team – which is now just two after releasing Jeff Driskell.
And one of those guys is possibly here because Paton knows first-hand how tough he is because he watched Bridgewater come back from an injury many thought would be career-ending.
“It was amazing. I remember the day he got hurt like it was yesterday,” Paton recalled. “It shook the whole building to its core. It was hard for the building to get over it and start the season. Just to see him come back and rehab when they told him he probably wasn’t going to play again. It was a long shot. Just to see him come in everyday and work with a smile on his face. Like I said, the perseverance and hard work. It was never ‘woe is me,’ and he never felt sorry for himself. He just kept grinding and working. That’s the type of person Teddy is.”
But Paton did admit to “still looking.”
“We’re always looking. You know what the market looks like right now. It’s not great,” he said. “We’ll see if there is someone who can upgrade what we have, but we like our two. I like Drew and I like Teddy. I think it’s going to be a great competition.”