Denver Broncos: George Paton hired as GM, says draft is top priority
Denver Broncos: George Paton hired as GM, says draft is top priority.
Not long after it was reported that top candidate George Paton had left the Denver Broncos facility and headed back to Minneapolis, the team announced it had hired Paton as their new general manager on a six-year contract.
After 10 years on the job, John Elway will no longer be the man in charge of putting together the Denver Broncos’ roster. That title now belongs to Paton (pronounced “Peyton”) who has been working as the right-hand man for Rick Spielman for the last 20 years, 13 of which were in Minnesota with the Vikings.
Paton expressed his excitement to get started working for the Broncos after the team made the announcement.
Upon the announcement of Paton’s hiring, John Elway mentioned that what set Paton apart as a candidate was his experience working in all areas of the front office. Ultimately, Paton’s experience and frankly how picky he has been about other GM offers over the last 10 years might have been his most attractive qualities.
But how does he stand out on his own without Spielman as the guy with final say?
Only time will tell, however, Paton did give everyone some solid insight into what he’s about in the press release the team put out after he was hired.
"It is an honor to be named General Manager of an iconic franchise with a championship tradition like the Denver Broncos. This organization has great resources, tremendous people, a talented young core of players, and an outstanding coaching staff.In many ways, I feel like this team is a sleeping giant. For me, it is the right place and the right time for this opportunity. Throughout this process, I felt a real connection with Joe, John, and Vic. It feels like home. We share the same values on winning and doing things the right way.While it is difficult to leave the Vikings, the relationships I enjoyed in Minnesota are for life. I am truly grateful for the Wilf family, Rick Spielman, Rob Brzezinski, Mike Zimmer and the entire Vikings organization. Thank you for treating us like family.I believe in hard work, the grind, and not taking any shortcuts to achieve our goals. Drafting and developing players is the No. 1 priority. We will be aggressive—but not reckless—in adding talent to our roster.Our family has heard nothing but great things about Colorado, especially the passionate fans in Broncos Country. Along with my wife Barbara and children Bella and Beau, we are proud to now call Denver our home. I can’t wait to get to work. Go Broncos!New Denver Broncos GM George Paton (via Broncos PR, emphasis added)"
There’s plenty to unpack in the simple “thanks for welcoming me” message.
What really stands out?
Not only does Paton feel the Broncos have a “talented young core of players” but he believes in drafting and developing as the number one priority.
There is obviously nothing specific in his statement about the quarterback position, and the jury is undoubtedly out when it comes to Drew Lock’s immediate and long-term future with the team. It dawned on me on Tuesday that Paton has been involved with plenty of veteran quarterback acquisitions in the recent past, but perhaps that was more of Spielman’s direction than Paton’s.
Paton received a six-year deal as previously mentioned, so he doesn’t have to make any drastic — or as he might say, “reckless” — moves at the quarterback position or any other. There is definitely a case to be made that keeping Drew Lock in his current role as the starter but pushing him with a veteran or someone else is the best course of action.
We’ll get into more detail on that later, but for now, it’s important to note that Paton’s strategy is first and foremost through the NFL Draft, and that he plans on being aggressive in adding talent to the roster, which he feels has a strong young core of talent and in some ways is a “sleeping giant.”
Those are great things to hear from the perspective of someone who has been invested in a completely different type of team build in Minnesota. It’s refreshing to have someone come in and pay the Broncos’ current roster a high compliment like that, especially considering how the team has struggled in recent years.
Denver Broncos: 4 most critical decisions facing new GM
The Denver Broncos will have a new general manager in 2021. That new GM is going to have to make some critical decisions right away.
There are brighter days ahead for the Denver Broncos, and hopefully Paton is someone whose eye for talent and team-building can push them back into championship contention.