Broncos GM George Paton has Different 1st Rd Plans, And That's Just Fine

Broncos GM George Paton (left) and Asst. GM Darren Mougey (right) hold their annual Pre-Draft Press Conference. (Photo: Brandon Krisztal/KOA)

For the better part of a decade as general manager, John Elway would often say in regards to his team's 1st-round pick, "we could move up, we could move down, or we could stay put." And while George Paton didn't say that in regards to a 1st-round pick, he did admit they could move up from their first pick of the draft, which happens to be number 64, the very last pick of that round.

But for the first time since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos don't have to address the quarterback position, thanks to the trade for Russell Wilson, and that's a great place to be. "It’s pretty cool that I don’t have to talk about the quarterbacks," Paton said. "It seems like every time I’m up here, I have to answer questions about a quarterback. If it’s not the quarterback, it’s another position. It’s the edge, it’s corners. Who is going to be there? We enjoy that. We enjoy breaking down the quarterbacks. We still did with this class even though we’re not going to take one high. It’s just what we do at every position. This is the best time of the year other than the season because we’re in a room. We’re locked down. We’re with the coaches. We’re talking football with no distractions or very little distractions. It’s all ball. The players are here like I mentioned. This is the best time of the year other than the season. We really enjoy it."

Paton also gave a little bit of insight into how they'll likely spend Thursday night's Round One, after being asked if he was bothered by not having a pick in the opening round, "It’s a blessing," Paton said. "We love having first-round picks. We love having the early second, but we also love having a franchise quarterback that sets the tone every day in the building. I come in here and he’s here working. There is a reason he’s great. It’s because of the work he puts into it. All the players and the entire organization is watching. There is no pain in that. On that first day, we’ll watch Russell Wilson highlights."

Paton's right-hand man, Darren Mougey, the recently promoted assistant GM accompanied Paton and was understandably on the same page with his boss in regards to not being bothered by the lack of a 1st-round pick.

Mougey has also had a pretty significant jump up the career ladder the last year, coming in from the college scouting department, where he worked remotely from Phoenix, to join Paton's staff in Denver full-time as the Director of Player Personnel. He was promoted again this January, after the Raiders made an effort to poach him. Mougey, who played QB and wideout at San Diego State explained why he chose to stay with the Broncos, rather than move to another organization, "There have been a few opportunities I’ve had throughout my career to maybe move to different organizations, but I’ve never felt the need to leave," Mougey said. "It’s such a special place to work here for this organization—the Denver Broncos—with Joe Ellis, John Elway, and now, George Paton. We have such a good thing going here. I work with such a good group of people that I’ve never really wanted to leave. I’ve had opportunities, but I’m happy with the situation that I’m in now, the group we have, and the team we’ve put together. I feel strongly about that."

Despite not picking until the end of round two, the Broncos still have 9 draft picks including two in the second and third rounds. And Paton likes a few positions, specifically edge rusher that is deep in this draft class, "I think the edge class is really strong," Paton said. "Everyone needs pass rushers, and I think there are a number of pass rushers in this draft. I would say that would be the strength. There are other positions that are strong, but I think edge is probably the No. 1 strength. I think if you’re picking in the first [round] or high second [round], you can get a good tackle. I think there are some good offensive linemen. Receivers have been strong, and I think this is a strong receiver class. That’s probably about it.”

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