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Broncos 'hope Bradley [Chubb]'s here a long time,' could still add edge rusher in 2022 NFL Draft

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — General Manager George Paton has spoken previously about his belief that the NFL has turned into a "rush and cover" league on defense.

And in this year's NFL Draft, there should be a variety of options to acquire another one of those rushers.

From the top of the draft — where Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux are jockeying for position — to the later rounds, there's apparent edge rushing talent. 

Paton, asked Friday at his predraft press conference about the state of the edge rushing class, identified the group as the best in the draft.

"I think the edge class is really strong," Paton said. "Everyone needs pass rushers, and I think there's a number of pass rushers in this draft, so I would say that would be the strength. There's other positions that are strong, but I think edge is probably the No. 1 strength."

The Broncos have been linked to pass rushers in several mock drafts, and it seems quite possible Denver could add to its impressive stable of rushers. 

Paton, though, clarified that if and when that pick occurs, it would be unrelated to the status of Bradley Chubb. The former fifth-overall pick is entering the final year of his rookie deal and will look to regain his Pro Bowl form from 2020.

"I think it's separate," said Paton when asked if picking an edge rusher is impacted by Chubb's contract status. "I hope Bradley's here a long time. I know he's going into the last year of his deal. I told you how much I appreciate Bradley, how he's come back from the injury. This is the first offseason he hasn't had to rehab. He's out there working. Really high on him as a person, the passion, the grit, the physicalness."

Asked specifically about a possible extension for Chubb, Paton said the team was "focused on the draft" and that the organization will "kind of see how it plays out."

Regardless of Chubb's future, the Broncos know they'll stand to benefit from adding another rusher.

"You just can't have enough pass rushers," Paton said. "If we take a pass rusher, it has nothing to do with Bradley. We can't have enough. Randy Gregory, Malik Reed, Jonathon Cooper — that's how you win, when you get a wave. You get a wave of rushers and you have an offense that can score points and you get leads and then you can throw this pass rush at them. 

"You look at the Rams, you look at the teams that have had success over the years — Indianapolis with Peyton, Denver with Peyton — you get the lead, you have the pass rushers, you let them go. I think that's the formula and you just can't have enough of those players, whether it's inside rushers or edge."

And in this year's draft, there should be several strong options from which to choose.

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