When building a complete top-to-bottom NFL roster, accumulating as many picks as possible is imperative. Denver Broncos’ GM George Paton is rapidly building a reputation as a diligent executive who values every single trade and pick that goes along with it.
Last season, the Broncos traded wideout Trinity Benson to the Detroit Lions, and it looks like the transaction is going to land Paton an additional seventh-round pick, which even the league had failed to account for when it announced the running order for the 2022 NFL draft.
When the draft kicks off in Las Vegas on April 28, the Broncos will be without a first-rounder due to the blockbuster trade to acquire Russell Wilson, but that doesn’t mean Paton has lost count of the number of cards he has left in his deck.
The selection order will now see the Lions surrendering an additional seventh-rounder on top of the fifth-round pick they already sent to the Broncos to originally obtain Benson. Not a bad return for a former undrafted player who was deemed surplus by Paton and was packaged to the Motor City prior to the 2021 season.
When he first took over as GM, Paton stated that having more darts to throw at the board on draft day meant he had more chances of hitting a bullseye and that mantra still rings true. Up to this point, the Broncos’ pre-draft visits have been aimed at getting value on the second and third day of the draft, so we can expect Paton to still place extreme importance on the late-round picks he’ll make at month’s end.
Having a greater number of picks to shuffle around could see Paton moving up and down to secure the players he wants, and he has insisted that he sees a strong draft class this year, particularly in the middle rounds.
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“If anything, we dig in more to the middle rounds,” Paton said on March 27. “Which I think it’s going to be a strong draft in the middle rounds.”
Perhaps most tellingly, Paton lifted the lid on his potential strategy when he met with the media at the NFL Owners Meeting in Florida, and at the same time, his math was typically spot-on.
“We still have nine picks,” Paton pointed out. “We’ll focus more on the 64th [overall pick]. We could also trade up, because we do have the ammo to still trade up. It doesn’t really change our process for the draft.”
By counting up the small change and turning them into dollar bills, Paton is showing off his savvy business sense, and that should position the Broncos very nicely for the drama of the draft which now looms on the horizon.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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