ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In the moments after the Broncos traded up twice on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, Head Coach Sean Payton turned to face General Manager George Paton.
"It was exciting, wasn't it?" Payton said. "I told you it'd be exciting."
After waiting out the first round and nearly all of the second round, the Broncos traded up from No. 68 to select Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. with the 63rd-overall pick. After taking Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders with their previously scheduled 67th-overall pick, Denver jumped back into the third round with another trade. The second move allowed Denver to draft Iowa cornerback Riley Moss with the 83rd-overall pick and add another top-100 player to their roster.
"This is probably the first time in the first three rounds we've traded up twice," Paton said of his career. "But it was fun. We got players we wanted."
And that, more than the draft capital the Broncos gave up, is what mattered. Ahead of the draft, Denver created a list of players they would trade up to target if they were in range. Both Mims and Moss were on that list for the Broncos.
"All week, we kind of had some players that we had targeted, [and] if they fell close enough to us, we'd go get [them]," Paton said. "That was the case with Mims and … Riley Moss. We just didn't want to lose those players."
The Broncos were able to make those moves without losing draft capital in 2023, as they swapped a fifth-round pick for a sixth-round pick in the trade to acquire Mims. The latter traded required the Broncos give up the later of their two 2024 third-round picks, but they kept their remaining two 2023 picks.
"We didn't lose any picks this year," Paton said. "We still stayed with our five. We just felt they were really good value for where we took them, and that's why we moved up and got them."
Paton and the Broncos knew they would not make many picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, so they "wanted quality" rather than quantity.
While they did trade picks, Paton said the Broncos didn't move up too far for Mims and were measured in their approach. In that way, he and Payton provide the right balance for each other.
"George is the saver," Payton joked. "I try to spend. We complement each other well."
Payton joked the team would be "out of everything the first day" if he made all the calls, but the Broncos still have two sixth-round picks as they head into Day 3.
A week after joking the Broncos would rather find a double oven than a toaster in the draft, Payton used another appliance analogy to suggest Denver could still find a talented player or two on Day 3.
"I still think there's probably a good dishwasher out there," he said.