BRONCOS

Broncos ‘more inclined’ to trade down than move up in draft

Mar 27, 2023, 1:45 PM | Updated: 1:46 pm

PHOENIX — Having just five draft picks understandably limits what you can do — especially when none of those choices take place before the third round. That’s the price the Broncos must pay for trading for Russell Wilson and Sean Payton in back to back years.

For general manager George Paton, it makes this draft different than usual. In his first draft, he dealt his way up in Round 2 to pick Javonte Williams, then turned one third-round pick into two late-Round-3 choices via a series of trades. Since those Round 3 picks turned into starters Baron Browning and Quinn Meinerz, it seemed to work out in the end.

This year, Paton’s hands are somewhat tied — at least if he wants to move up.

“It’s hard to move up when you only have five picks,” Paton said Monday between sessions at the NFL Annual Meeting. “We won’t rule anything out, but it’s hard. I would say we’d be more inclined to move back, to get some more picks. So, we’ll see how it goes.”

To that end, Paton’s focus is on the draft. So is Sean Payton’s. While Paton said he didn’t attend any Pro Days, he said that he, Payton and “a couple of our scouts” have turned their focus to the rookies-to-be since the first waves of free agency ebbed.

“We’ve sat in the dark room and we’ve hit the draft,” Paton said. “We’ve just focused on the draft — and specifically, those [third-round picks]. So, we’re really going to have to make hay.”

The Broncos open the draft with picks Nos. 67 and 68, which are the fourth and fifth picks of the third round. They also have fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round choices.

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