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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Trey Lance, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft prospect Trey Lance. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /

2. George Paton hitting the QB Pro Day circuit

George Paton has already attended Trey Lance’s Pro Day in Fargo, ND. He told the media that he plans on making the rounds and attending more, also noting that QB is definitely in play for the Broncos’ first-round pick.

While some general managers like to do “due diligence” and go check out quarterback pro days regardless if they plan on selecting one in the first round, it would be ignoring the reality of the Broncos’ legitimate potential to draft a QB in the first round to simply say this is due diligence.

Paton and director of scouting Brian Stark went along with quarterbacks coach Mike Shula to watch Lance throw at his Pro Day. They will almost undoubtedly do the same with Mac Jones’ pro day on March 23 and both Zach Wilson and Justin Fields’ pro days later in the month.

Attending a pro day does not mean you are guaranteed to be drafting a guy, especially in a year where you need to get all the in-person time you can since the pre-draft process is not the same as usual with in-person visits or a Scouting Combine. With that being said, you also don’t just take the team plane out to a pro day for the fun of it or to chum with other coaches and executives.

Paton has noted in the past that he likes to see quarterbacks operate on the field as one of his primary evaluating tools, and since that is part of his evaluation process, it stands to reason that he’s making the rounds at top QB pro days for more than just due diligence.

When asked about watching all of the veteran players sign with other teams in free agency, Paton responded:

"We’re monitoring it. We’ve evaluated all the quarterbacks. We like Drew Lock. We have a plan in place and there’s free agency, there’s the draft, there’s trades, there’s a lot of ways to acquire a quarterback. Fortunately, we have a quarterback here and we have a nice quarterback room. We do want to bring in competition. We are not going to force it. We are monitoring the market right now. George Paton (via Broncos PR)"

That quote from Paton shows some strong support for Lock, but also what does he mean about having a “plan in place”? That is an interesting quote from the Broncos GM right there that makes you wonder if his “plan” is more of the long-term, draft variety.