ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The process of building a perfect football team is never quite complete.
There's always another piece of tape to watch, an injury to account for and a draft pick to develop.
Over the course of the last several months, though, the Broncos have made significant strides toward improving their roster. The team traded for Russell Wilson in March, added a big-name free agent in Randy Gregory, signed several other starters and added valuable depth in the draft.
After the offseason program, training camp and the preseason, General Manager George Paton and Co. will finally to get to see the new-look Broncos in action.
"I think we're all eager to see this team," Paton said Tuesday after setting the Broncos' initial 53-man roster. "We see it in practice every day. These guys get after in practice. They like to compete. They're chomping at the bit to play in the preseason games, but now they're going to be even more excited to play in the regular-season games. We see it in practice. Can't wait to put it all together now that we've got some of the guys back — Randy and Billy [Turner] — and see it all come together."
And despite the Broncos' decision to avoid playing their starters in the preseason, Paton said he believes the team he's built will be poised for success when the regular season arrives.
"Each team is different," Paton said. "A lot of teams are going that direction and not playing their starters. When you look at our team, we have a quarterback who's played in the league for 10 years. I know he's in a new offense, but it's similar to what he's run. And then we've got a defense [where] we're bringing a lot of our defensive players back with a similar scheme. I don't think it's going to be as drastic here.
"Coach Hackett obviously brought this from his experience from Green Bay, and I know they started slow maybe the first game, but they're 13-3 three years in a row. Rams are 0-3 last year in the preseason. So I just think it depends on your team and your makeup. And I think preseason is a great developmental [opportunity]for the younger players, great evaluation tool for us for the younger players and for the league. We got a lot of work in our practices. Our players got after it. We had the Dallas scrimmage [and] when these guys worked, they worked. I think it's important for them to be fresh for this 17-game journey they're about to embark on. I think that's more important. I was completely on board with Coach Hackett."
The Broncos' journey toward the regular season will soon begin, and Paton said he knows the Broncos face a tough test in Week 1.
"I feel good where we are as a football team," Paton said. "I know we are all excited for the regular season. Week 1, we face a really good opponent [in] the Seattle Seahawks. I think it's the toughest place to play in the NFL."
Eight of the Broncos' nine draft picks made the initial 53-man roster — and they'll be counted on in 2022.
Although the Broncos did not make a draft pick until the final selection of the second round, Paton said he knows the team's rookies must find a way to contribute in Year 1.
"I think they have to help us this year," Paton said. "I'm excited — there's not a lot of splash yet with this group. It's kind of a nuts and bolts [group] — again, they come in and work, they get after it, they're tough. [Greg] Dulcich is unfortunately hurt. He's going to be a splash kind of guy. [Nik] Bonitto doesn't say anything, but he can rush the passer. We have two defensive linemen who are just blue-collar guys [in Eyioma Uwazurike and Matt Henningsen] that stuff the run, and then I love the corners. I don't know how much 'splash,' but I think these guys are really going to help us — help us on special teams — and they're going to do their job.
"I don't know how many starters we'll get initially out of this group like we did last year, but I think this group is really going to help the foundation and the middle of the roster."