George Paton at NFL Owners Meetings

Broncos GM has been around long enough to know the Super Bowls aren’t won in March. (But Russell Wilson can help them get there).

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Lots of praise, George Paton.

Honor to Paton. In George we trust.

Here at the swanky The Breakers resort with its cathedral-ceilinged lobby, elaborate 20-light chandeliers and room rates regularly north of $1,200 a night, the Broncos’ general manager has been the toast of property owners’ meetings. the NFL that started on Sunday.

That’s what a successful trade for star quarterback Russell Wilson will do for a guy.

To all appearances, Paton remained Humble George. To make sure, his family joins him here on Sunday evening.

“You know, I don’t go out much,” Paton said Sunday in an interview with 9NEWS as Atlantic Ocean waves crashed behind him. “My family don’t hire me. The fact is we won 7 games. I’m a 7-10 general manager. It’s on me, it’s on our whole building. Nobody cares if you win the offseason. They only care if you win the regular season. We keep everything in perspective, I know I do.”

Humility won’t stop Paton from becoming the favorite for the 2022 NFL Executive of the Year award after acquiring Wilson in exchange for two first-round draft picks, two second-round picks and three players – Noah Fant, Drew Lock and Shelby Harris. One or two scribes who crowd the luxurious hall here have asked if Paton has given up a little too much. While speaking, reporters remembered what the Cleveland Browns gave up for Deshaun Watson, who could be .

The overwhelming feeling in Broncos Country is that it doesn’t matter what Paton gave up for Russell Wilson. All that matters is that he got it. Walk past the Broncos headquarters and if it’s particularly hot, you might hallucinate the structure vibrating with its excited energy. Then again, that could have been new head coach Nathaniel Hackett bouncing off the walls.

“We had a lot of energy with Coach Hackett and all the great coaches he hired,” Paton said. “A lot of buzz in the building. Then you go out and get Russ. It really changes the dynamic of the building, where the players are, in the community. There’s just a lot of buzz around Russ and what he brings at the table…

“And what he brings to the table is work. And he’s obsessed with work. And that’s because he’s obsessed with winning. So yeah, there’s a lot of buzz but he have to put it to work and our team knows it and it starts – they work now. And it starts on April 11 when they show up.

Yes, the Russell Gang will show up for the start of the Broncos’ offseason schedule on April 11. The team could have started on April 4, but then the team would have had to take a week off in the middle. Now they can track conditioning, OTAs (off-season training activities) and minicamps through mid-June.

Other topics covered by 9NEWS with Paton about the loud din of nature’s waves:

*Randy Gregory. It was slightly surprising that Paton and the Broncos signed the former Nebraska and Dallas Cowboy to a five-year, $70 million deal. Again, this is not surprising as Paton is first and foremost a scout. A player assessor who loves watching football movies. Eat duct tape for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And Gregory is a tantalizing talent that jumps from the gang.

But what caused a few scratches in the head is that Paton seems like a methodical, even cautious guy – at least until he pulls off the audacious trade for Wilson – who would have been reluctant to sign a player with such a checkered past. Gregory has been suspended multiple times for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, which is believed to be primarily due to marijuana use. However, he hasn’t had any issues for the past two years and is represented by Peter Schaffer, the Denver-based agent known for his star rehabilitation.

“It’s a fun watch,” Paton said of Gregory’s film. “First of all you have to get familiar with the strip and how does he fit into the team? And he brings everything we look for in outside support. In the running game he’s very disruptive “He’s long, he’s strong, he’s passionate and he’s a prototypical pass rusher with his burst, his explosion. And so we looked at all the outside backers in free agency, he was the one who jumped off the boards. .

“We all watched him individually and then got together and watched him as a group. The coaches watched him. We had a lot of eyes on him.”

OK, the talent is unquestionable.

“And then you do the background, obviously, like we do with all the players, but the background with him was a bit more complicated,” Paton said. “And where he started to where he is now, working through that process, we’re excited about the signing. You speak to everyone who was in Dallas, they love him. His work ethic, his leadership – he was on their board of directors with the Cowboys. He’s going to bring that here. We feel good about him as a player and even more so as a person.

*Sketch. Paton said this year’s draft is exceptionally strong in the middle rounds.

Paton’s typical self-deprecating humor was consistent with the Broncos not having their No. 9 and 40 overall picks, as they are now owned by Wilson’s former team in Seattle. The Broncos don’t choose until No. 64 and the final selection in the second round, but then have two picks in the third round and two more in the fourth.

“We think it’s strong in the middle,” Paton said. “We have a lot of choices in that area. If we can get another pass thrower, I think that’s strong in the edge draft. I think there are a few corners available, inside linebackers . We think it’s a pretty good defensive draft. And then offensively, I think you can go to the O line, there’s always receivers. So I think it’s a pretty good draft in the together, especially where we choose.

“I talked about the O line,” Paton said. “Could use another tight end. Could use another runner. We can use another lineman D. Corner, obviously we’re going to have to take care of the corner position. We have a way to go, but we answered a lot of free agency needs where we can take the best player (in the draft).”

Another running back, Paton said. The type of running back may hinge on whether the Broncos want Javonte Williams to be the 1A running back after serving the 1B role as rookie Melvin Gordon last year. (And, by the way, Paton didn’t send any of his top three draft picks from a year ago — cornerback Pat Surtain II, Williams and guard Quinn Meinerz — to Seattle in the trade of Wilson).

“I think he’s ready for anything we throw at him – 1A, 1B, 1C, he’s a really good player,” Paton said. “I think he can be one of the best runners in the NFL in his sophomore year. He’s so good. The maturity he showed as a rookie, his ability to break tackles, his vision. He has everything as back and can’t wait to see, because he’s a hard worker, what he brings next year.”

*Expectations for the Broncos in 2022?

“You know me. We’re going to start work on April 11,” Paton said. “We will build every day to put a winner on the pitch.”

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Lance B. Holton