Denver Broncos: 3 key stories to watch leading up to the NFL Draft

Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /
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What will the Denver Broncos Draft Strategy be?

First-time general manager Paton has an opportunity to define himself as a drafter. His time with the Minnesota Vikings saw the Vikings have some bright spots in the draft, including star Justin Jefferson and Danielle Hunter. The Vikings also missed on high-round players such as Laquon Treadwell and Pat Elflein.

Paton has a good chance to find an impact player with his first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. With the ninth overall pick, the Broncos are in prime position to grab a potential franchise quarterback or a blue-chip prospect like Penei Sewell or Parsons.

The Vikings have had success in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, finding key players like Ezra Cleveland, Cameron Dantzler, Irv Smith Jr. and Brian O’Neill. If Paton can continue to find impact players in the second and third rounds, Paton’s “Sleeping Giant” will come to life faster than expected.

One area of the draft the Broncos have historically had success in are the late rounds, as well as finding undrafted free agents. Names like Phillip Lindsay, Essang Bassey, and Will Parks have contributed meaningfully after being late-round picks or even going undrafted.

The scouting department for the Broncos knows how to find diamonds in the rough in the late rounds, and should continue to pay dividends for the franchise. Paton already has a useful crew of evaluators at his disposal.

One of the hallmarks of the Vikings in recent years has been their ability to move up and down the draft board to accumulate picks and target impact players. Paton will likely adopt a similar strategy with the Broncos by either moving up for a quarterback or moving down to acquire picks for future drafts.

By the end of the NFL Draft, we will have a much better understanding of how Paton will operate as the general manager of the Broncos.