2. George Paton is responsible for the QB situation and fallout
Armed with the 9th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, George Paton decided to go for Pat Surtain II over Justin Fields (or Mac Jones, for that matter) when the Broncos had a clear and obvious need at the quarterback position. The pick felt, at the time, like it was made by the coaching staff and in hindsight, there’s probably a lot of truth to that.
The whole 2021 offseason was geared around helping give Vic Fangio a chance to save his job, which was on its last life at the time. Everybody could understand that although in the moment, it felt like Paton sacrificed a potentially great QB prospect in favor of a potentially great cornerback prospect, and he justified it by saying that franchise corners are harder to get than franchise QBs these days.
Even if you can agree with him on that based on the fact that a lot of veteran QBs are coming available these days in the trade market, a lot of people hated the fact that the Broncos passed on the talented QB out of Ohio State and they are hating it even more now that he’s showing signs of progress with the Bears in 2022.
Instead of drafting Fields, the Broncos took Surtain and traded for Wilson the next year. For basically the entirety of the 2022 offseason, Broncos fans felt like they were having their cake and eating it, too. If they couldn’t have Fields, at least they were getting an elite CB prospect as well as a top-tier veteran QB to lead the offense, right?
Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked out. Appeasing Fangio by drafting the star corner and giving him a stopgap veteran quarterback, punting the QB situation down the road when you had a tremendous talent staring you right in the face? That’s going to be tough to come back from since right now, the Russell Wilson deal isn’t working out.
The Broncos’ offense is worse now than it was with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater running Pat Shurmur’s show. Think about that.