George Paton has completed his first NFL Draft as General Manager of the Denver Broncos. While immediate draft reactions differ, many believe Paton came away with a solid haul from the 2021 NFL Draft.
Every draft class has pros and cons, George Paton’s first draft class is no exception. However, for a first-time General Manager for the Denver Broncos, Paton came away with an impressive haul of talented players with excellent upside, along with high-floor impact players.
While we can debate whether quarterback should have been the pick at number 9 overall, Paton generally made decisions that were best for the overall roster, and that give Vic Fangio the best chance to win right now. Not every decision was a slam dunk, however.
Here’s what I liked, and questioned, about George Paton’s first-ever Draft Class:
What I liked: The “Theme” of George Paton’s 1st Draft Class
While it’s hard to identify George Paton’s “type” from a single draft, the 2021 class provided an insightful look into the mind of Paton. Paton spent plenty of draft capital on players with high upside for the future, but that were also capable of contributing immediately in reserve roles or through special teams.
Many teams spend late-round draft picks on high upside players at premium positions to develop and groom, but Paton took fliers on players like Baron Browning and Quinn Meinerz in the 3rd round, who both have excellent upside but may not be starters right away. Caden Sterns also comes to mind as an athletic project whose upside is immense.
Paton balanced his first draft with high-floor players as well. First-round pick Patrick Surtain II and 2nd round pick Javonte Williams both have high floors and will see the field quickly as rotational pieces or even as starters. Jamar Johnson is another high floor player who could see time sooner rather than later, due to his incredible ball production at Indiana.
Overall, I thought Paton had a strong showing in his first draft as General Manager. Paton was able to find high-floor players early on, while also swinging the bat on unfinished players with excellent athletic ability for Vic Fangio and the coaching staff to mold.