2. S Jamar Johnson
Former Denver Broncos safety Jamar Johnson has a strong case to be George Paton's worst draft pick to date, but for other reasons, I'll stick him at the second spot instead. Johnson was selected in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft and played just three games with the team before being waived prior to the start of the 2022 season. The 23-year-old safety played just 38 special teams snaps and did not make a single appearance in the secondary. Not having the brightest offseason and preseason performances in back-to-back years, Paton's use of a fifth-round pick proved to be another waste.
1. WR Montrell Washington
Former Broncos wide receiver Montrell Washington, who was most recently fielding kicks for the Kansas City Chiefs, is arguably George Paton's worst draft pick in his three years as general manager. Being drafted in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Denver had specifically selected him due to his abilities as a designated returner and potential gadget player.
In his rookie season, Washington caught four passes for two yards and rushed for 30 yards in his 15 games played. In addition, the 24-year-old returner averaged 8.5 yards per punt return and a disappointing 18.9 yards per kickoff return along with five fumbles. Drafted solely to be Denver's long-term fix for the returner spot, Washington never once appeared to be an above-average returner. While the expectation never was for Washington to be elite off the bat, the usage of the draft pick remains puzzling in itself.
The wide receiver out of Samford had a few flashes during training camp in August but failed to make the roster after being outperformed in the preseason by multiple other receivers. Yet again, another fifth-round pick that George Paton whiffed on. Drafting a returner in the fifth round with several gaping holes on the roster will always be one of the most interesting draft-day decisions in recent memory.