Broncos go after upside, athletic replacement for Bradley Chubb

Denver Broncos new pass rusher Aaron Patrick. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos new pass rusher Aaron Patrick. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos decided against the veteran route to replace Bradley Chubb and instead poached Aaron Patrick off the Jaguars practice squad.

For the time being, the Denver Broncos probably won’t be pursuing any trades for Jamie Collins or other available edge defenders. They also aren’t going to be signing any prominent free agent pass rushers, it seems.

George Paton was once a scout, and that part of him has been shining through early on in his tenure as a general manager.

In addition to relying on the likes of Malik Reed, Jonathon Cooper, Andre Mintze, and possibly even Baron Browning, Paton has made the move to acquire former Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad member Aaron Patrick, a second-year player out of Eastern Kentucky.

Once a scout, always a scout?

Denver Broncos go for upside, youth with Aaron Patrick pickup

The Aaron Patrick pickup may not have been widely predicted. In fact, it’s safe to say that no one saw it coming, because our first thought is typically to go after what we know (free agents, trades) rather than what we don’t know (poaching off of other practice squads).

Now we know, early on in the 2021 season, a little bit more of what could be considered “on brand” for George Paton in his GM tenure.

When the Denver Broncos initially set their 53-man roster, Paton went after a young running back on the waiver wire in Nate McCrary to replace Royce Freeman on the active roster (incidentally, McCrary was the one waived to bring in Aaron Patrick).

They went after a guy like Jonas Griffith and Mike Ford Jr. to upgrade the special teams.

They added Micah Kiser at the linebacker position.

In addition to requiring a bit more in-depth scouting, all of these players have one thing in common — elite athleticism for their respective position groups.

That’s what Aaron Patrick brings to the table for the Denver Broncos.

This is another big-time athlete with speed, explosiveness, and quickness. He’s going to give the Broncos some depth not only off the edge, but on special teams as well where he got plenty of work in the preseason.

Patrick was an FCS All-American in 2019 at Eastern Kentucky and was the conference defensive player of the year.

Because of the pandemic in 2020, he didn’t get the chance to put anything on tape in the preseason and was on the Jaguars’ practice squad last year before signing a reserve/futures contract.

He got the chance to compete in this year’s preseason action, and obviously impressed George Paton and the Denver Broncos’ pro scouts enough to warrant a 53-man roster spot for the time being.

Hopefully, unlike with Nate McCrary, we’ll actually get a chance to see something from Patrick. He has the athleticism to be an asset right away on special teams, but even with the injury to Bradley Chubb, he could be a bit buried on the depth chart off the edge for a while.