‘Jumpy’ George Paton Teases Broncos Trade(s) in 2022 NFL Draft

Barring a monumental plot twist, the Denver Broncos do not plan to be on the clock during Day One of the 2022 NFL Draft. Because they already netted their first-round pick.

“On that first day, we’ll watch Russell Wilson highlights,” general manager George Paton cracked Friday amid his pre-draft press conference.

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The Broncos enter the annual offseason spectacle with nine total selections, including four within the top-115, beginning at 64th overall. This, after surrendering the No. 9 choice (as well as second- and fourth-rounders this year) to acquire Wilson from Seattle. The bombshell agreement makes it difficult for the team to move up, conscious of not depleting the remaining war chest.

But …

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Paton teased. “I would say it’s much more likely that we move up in the second or move back. It’s going to take a lot of capital. We’ve gone through all the models to get up there in the first [round]. You never rule it out, but I think it’s more likely we move up into the second.”

In 2021, then-rookie GM Paton cut one major Draft deal, and it occurred on Day 2. Denver jumped five spots, from No. 39 to No. 35, to nab running back Javonte Williams, who’s become an offensive building block. Paton admitted “there is a rush” that comes with trading up to land a coveted prospect, yet “there’s also juice in moving back, knowing that there are enough players that if you move back, you can still get one and get more picks to build your football team.”

The latter route is more appropriate this time around as the Broncos currently hold just five picks for the 2023 Draft, half of Paton’s desired threshold. Additional capital may arrive via the compensatory process; regardless, the organization wouldn’t turn in a card until Round Three — reverberations of Wilson’s historic acquisition.

While entering into the foray Thursday sounds improbable, Paton has repeatedly hinted at working the phones Friday and Saturday, unable to control his wheeling-and-dealing proclivities.

What transpires from there, nobody knows until the day of. But whether the Broncos are active in Las Vegas … bet on it.

“It’s tough to wait that long, and there’s going to be players falling,” Paton said. “I know I’m going to get jumpy. The room will get jumpy. It’s a really good point. But when I walk over here to this presser and I see our quarterback throwing to all those receivers, I feel pretty good about it. I know I’m going to feel good Week 1 because we have a franchise quarterback who brings it every day.”

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