Broncos GM George Paton’s first two weeks will be “crazy” as he meets with coaches, evaluates roster – The Denver Post
Introducing himself to scouts he may only know in passing.
Visiting with coach Vic Fangio and his staff.
Getting updates from the medical staff about rehabilitating players.
And creating passwords for his team-issued computers.
New Broncos general manager George Paton was expected back in the Denver area this weekend to attack a lengthy to-do list as free agency and the NFL draft approach.
“It will be crazy,” said former NFL general manager Randy Mueller, whom Paton worked for in Miami. “George is going to want to say, ‘Hey, can you guys leave me alone so I can look at some film?’ He’s going to get pulled by everybody under the sun and that’s going to be new for him. People think GM jobs are sitting around and picking players, but there’s a lot more to it and he’s going to find that out.”
A plus for Paton is he had a front-row seat to how a general manager operates while working for Mueller with the Dolphins (2005-06) and Rick Spielman in Minnesota from 2007 until this past Wednesday.
“I know he has a specific plan on what he needs to get accomplished when he gets there and he gets going,” Spielman said.
Splitting up Paton’s responsibilities over the next month:
Personnel. Above all, Paton’s primary task is forming opinions about the Broncos’ depth chart.
“The No. 1 thing is assessing what the team has and what their needs are,” a league executive said. “Even with all the COVID (restrictions), he’ll try and meet with all of the scouts and coaches to get an idea of what they’re looking for.”
Said Spielman: “The No. 1 thing is always the personnel. That’s the lifeline of our organization, especially in the draft.”
Former NFL scout Dan Hatman, now with the Scouting Academy, said Paton will have myriad meetings with all levels of the organization, but first up is the addressing the roster.
“The internal assessment of who’s there (is key) and he’s already been working the board for the draft and free agency (in Minnesota) so it’s not like he’s out of the loop on those things and I imagine he’s been vetting the roster and will continue to get information from the building on medical statuses, contract negotiations and updates from all departments,” Hatman said. “It’s really about figuring out where the gaps in the boat are between now and the draft and what he has to patch up.”
Connecting with Fangio. The new general managers in Houston (Nick Caserio) and Detroit (Brad Holmes) will have to finalize coaching hires, the same possibly in Atlanta. Paton inherits Fangio and their connection needs to be established quickly.
“He’ll need to spend quite a bit of time (with Fangio),” the executive said. “I think that’s critical.”
Said Mueller: “It’s a marriage, there’s no doubt. They have to dive right in. He has to hear Vic’s convictions and what he wants because it’s the GM’s job in my opinion to fulfill the wants and needs of the coaches and the scheme. I think he’ll spend a ton of time with those guys, but George is going to have to do his own evaluations on the Broncos’ personnel as well.”
Preparing for draft. Paton is likely to use the Broncos’ grading system for his initial draft, which the executive and Mueller both said won’t be difficult for him to adapt to before April 29.
“The work (Denver) has done up to this point, they will keep in their language and in the February and April meetings, they will put in a manner that (Paton) can execute on draft weekend,” Hatman said. “He will have to push through this first draft and then he’ll get a chance to sit down and look at more of the long-term hirings and contractual situations of everybody else.”
The Broncos have the ninth overall pick.
Hiring help. Paton will need to find a No. 2 for his front office to replace Matt Russell. Generally in the NFL, scouts and executives aren’t allowed to jump to another team until after the draft. Plus, a Paton choice may be blocked by their current club or promoted.
“It’s possible that move could happen in the January window because usually for that role, teams will let that person go (early),” Hatman said. “It depends on who he picks. If we don’t see that happen, chances are that person has been blocked.”
When Mueller left Seattle to become New Orleans’ general manager in 2000, he estimated he took “4-5” personnel people with him.
Overall, will anything about being in the big chair initially surprise Paton?
“No, not really,” the league executive said. “He’s been in this long enough and is probably the most-deserving of anybody in this GM hiring cycle. He’ll have a good handle for it.”
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