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Broncos' scouting contingent led by GM George Paton takes in BYU Pro Day


Two weeks after traveling to Fargo, North Dakota, and watching Trey Lance work out, General Manager George Paton led a Broncos contingent in Provo, Utah.

Paton and many other leading personnel evaluators from around the league gathered in an indoor facility on Brigham Young University's campus to watch the Cougars' talented Draft prospects, including expected top-five pick Zach Wilson.

Wilson, a three-year starter at quarterback at BYU, compiled impressive statistics in his collegiate career with a passer rating of 162.9, 56 touchdown passes and just 15 interceptions. His final season was by far his finest, as he led BYU to an 11-1 record and completed 73.5 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 196.4.

As a passer, Wilson displayed tremendous arm strength, agility, awareness and the ability to throw on the run when the pocket breaks down.

Even in the controlled setting of a pro day, he was able to do similar things on Friday.

"You saw him drive the football with pace, velocity and accuracy," Daniel Jeremiah said on NFL Network after the workout. "There were some misses down the field; I wouldn't read too much into that. These guys haven't been working together all that long. But this was the stuff that was special: on the move, particularly to the left. Get your shoulders square and deliver the ball right where it needs to be, with tons and tons of juice behind the ball. It was fun to watch him go through the pro day today."

As the Draft approaches, Wilson and the rest of the top quarterbacks are working on trying to separate themselves from the others. Behind Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Wilson is largely considered the second-best quarterback prospect by NFL Draft analysts, but Ohio State's Justin Fields, North Dakota State's Trey Lance and Alabama's Mac Jones all are in the conversation, as well.

Asked to describe what traits he thinks separates him from other players, Wilson identified one mental and one physical aspect of his approach.

"Something that I think separates me is just my passion for the game," Wilson said after his workout on Friday. "I put a lot of time into what I do. And throughout all the years, I've really just dedicated my life to football. It's crazy when people try to ask me what I do outside of football. Football is really my life. It's like everything that I've got going on. Somebody that can extend plays and somebody that can make something happen outside of the offense when things break down is something that I take a lot of pride in."

As Jeremiah mentioned, Wilson demonstrated that skill well during his session. The young quarterback said that element of his game is particularly important because of how he views the position evolving in the sport.

"I just think the game of football is changing, especially the quarterback position," Wilson said. "You want someone that's athletic and mobile in the pocket and can make all the throws but also extend and make things from different angles and different things like that."

In that area, Wilson said he learned a good deal from watching film of former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the 2020 Draft's first-overall pick.

"My junior year last year, he was a huge part of my mental success that I feel like I had, my ability to throw the ball into spots where maybe you think somebody is covered but they're really open," Wilson said. "I really did a lot of studying in the way he played the game, and I think he did it all the right way. He knew exactly what he was doing on every play, he took what the defense gave him and he extended plays down the field. So I learned a lot from what he did."

In recent months, Paton has spoken about the team's desire to add competition in their quarterback room. The team, though, did not add a quarterback in the first wave of free agency, leaving the Broncos with options in perhaps exploring a trade with another team or looking for talent in the draft.

In a press conference on March 18, Paton said that a quarterback could be a possibility with the ninth-overall pick.

"It is in play for quarterback," Paton said. "Yes, I'll be out a lot looking at all positions [at pro days], but definitely quarterback."

However, the odds that Wilson in particular will be available long enough for the Broncos to consider him at No. 9 appear to be quite small. Most mock drafts project Wilson to be selected by the fourth-overall pick.

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