Since being hired as the new general manager of the Denver Broncos in 2021, George Paton's management of roster building and coaching hires has been very questionable at the bare minimum. Two of the most notable moves on his behalf consist of the trade for quarterback Russell Wilson surrendering multiple premium draft picks and the hire of former head coach Nathaniel Hackett who was fired after just 15 games in 2022.
Ultimately, sacrificing numerous day one and day two draft picks along with handing Wilson a massive five-year, $242.5M contract extension has significantly set the franchise back for years to come. Due to the trades for Wilson and head coach Sean Payton, George Paton and the Broncos have had a low amount of draft capital to work with in back-to-back years and miserably failed to find much talent in the 2022 NFL Draft, despite making nine selections.
Up to this point, Paton's tenure as Broncos general manager has been a subtle disaster. The chances of Denver hiring a new general manager in 2024 are very, very high.
George Paton's 5 worst draft picks as Broncos GM:
5. CB Damarri Mathis
In his rookie season, cornerback Damarri Mathis showed serious flashes of a legitimate CB2 in this league across the field from All-Pro Patrick Surtain ll. However, after losing former defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero to the Carolina Panthers, Mathis' career has taken a turn for the worse. Playing in a predominantly heavy man-coverage scheme during his rookie campaign, Mathis performed at a stellar level for a fourth-round pick.
In 2023, Mathis started in six games and allowed 311 yards in pass coverage, three touchdowns, a 74.3% completion rate, and a high 129.6 quarterback rating when targeted. After having high hopes entering the year, Mathis was benched just six games into the season. The 24-year-old cornerback's production has significantly decreased under new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph's scheme and has yet to create a turnover in 23 NFL games. Due to his significant regression, the Broncos will be in the market for a new starting cornerback when free agency comes around in 2024.