Broncos: Why George Paton trading up for QB seems more likely

Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft, Justin Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft, Justin Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Justin Fields, 2021 NFL Draft, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft prospect Justin Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

After the first week of the 2021 NFL offseason, where do things stand for the Denver Broncos and new GM George Paton?

We’ve got a tracker for all of the moves Paton is making in his first year on the job and it’s clear after one week that Paton doesn’t plan on letting the Broncos sit idly by in the 2021 season.

The man who took over for John Elway has been aggressive in his approach early on, striking up contracts with key in-house players like Justin Simmons and Shelby Harris as well as bringing in key contributors from the outside in cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller.

Even with just a couple of big moves through free agency and to keep key in-house players, it really looks like Paton is setting up the roster to at least contend for a playoff spot in the AFC in 2021.

In 2020, with an injury-riddled and COVID-impacted roster, the Broncos were within just six points of beating the Kansas City Chiefs and they were even closer than that were it not for a dropped pass on a potential game-tying or game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.

Like Paton said at his introductory presser, he feels he inherited something of a “sleeping giant” with this Broncos roster and he wasn’t joking around. He picked up Von Miller’s contract option and was aggressive about pursuing the former All-Pro Fuller to boost the secondary.

The offense will be getting back former big-money free agent Ja’Wuan James, whose 2021 and beyond with Paton calling the shots should be viewed as a second life of sorts with this team.

The way the Broncos’ roster is constructed, you can’t help but wonder if Paton is setting himself up for a possible move up the 2021 NFL Draft board for a quarterback. There are a couple of ways you could read into Paton’s initial wave of moves, but there is no question that it feels more likely now than it did even one week ago that the Broncos could trade up for a quarterback in a class where five guys are expected to go at some point in the first round.

I want to take a look at a few reasons (call them tea leaves, if you will) why the Broncos moving up for a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft feels more likely after the initial wave of free agency.