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'There will be no shortcuts': George Paton explains his vision for an innovative front office

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Speaking from the lectern at the front of the team meeting room at UCHealth Training Center, General Manager George Paton introduced himself with an opening statement that concluded with an overview of the philosophy that will now guide the Denver Broncos.

Emphasizing the necessity of hard work, Paton outlined the overwhelming importance of succeeding in the draft, being aggressive and being innovative in their space of player evaluation and acquisition.

"There'll be no shortcuts," Paton said. "We're going to embrace the day-to-day [process], we're going to embrace the grind, and we're going to do it together. … We're going to be progressive, we're going to be innovative, we're going to be forward-thinking and we're going to use all the information at our disposal to make the best informed decisions."

More than anything, Paton said the draft would be most important for the Broncos as they look to build a playoff contender for the first time since 2015.

"Drafting and developing players will be our foundation," Paton said. "It's going to be the lifeblood of this football team."

To that end, Paton said that building more draft capital may be a part of the process that he carries over from Minnesota to Denver.

"I think our philosophy in Minnesota is try to acquire as many draft picks as you can," Paton said. "The more draft picks you have, the more flexibility you have. In the offseason you can make a trade for a player, draft day you can kind of work your way up and down the draft — if you want to go get a player, you go get them. So, we always thought it was important. The more picks, the more darts and the better chance of you hitting the bullseye. I would like to think that would continue here. Every draft it may not work out. Some drafts you just want to stand pat and take the guy — a really good player. That is going to remain a philosophy here in Denver, if possible."

That theory was universally agreed upon among the trio of President of Football Operations John Elway, Head Coach Vic Fangio and Paton, he said, though he noted that they won't take that approach at the exclusion of free agency or trading for talent.

"We all believe that to draft and develop talent that you bring high character players into your organization, you develop them and hopefully get them second contracts, and that's how you build your best culture," Paton said. "Now when you go outside, will you be aggressive and dip into free agency or the trade market? Yeah, every now and then, but it takes that right type of player to do that. I think we all believe in drafting and developing and making them into your own. That's the best way to build a football team."

Take an exclusive look at new Broncos GM George Paton as he settled in at UCHealth Training Center, as he was introduced to Denver media on Tuesday.

When opportunities arise to potentially acquire veteran players via trade, Paton committed to evaluating "every deal" even if they ultimately decide to pass.

"We're going to be aggressive, but we're not going to be reckless in player acquisition," Paton said. "We're going to leave no stone unturned. There's going to be a collaborative, positive and diverse work environment with free-flowing ideas."

Some of that collaboration will include conversations with Elway, who will still be involved in personnel decisions to some degree as President of Football Operations. Still, Paton will have the authority to make final decisions, Elway said.

"I'm going to be there to support him, to give my opinions and give him everything I would look at when I was the GM, and give him everything that would be in my mind in that situation to help him again make that decision and the best decision he possibly can," Elway said. "Once he hears everything, he will still be the one making that decision because that's his role and that's his responsibility. I'm here to support him in any way I possibly can and to give him my viewpoints, but it's going to be his decision."

Regardless, Paton will work to build agreements when the team faces difficult and particularly significant choices.

"Every decision made will be a consensus," Paton said. "It's not going to be my decision, it's not going to be Vic's or John's. It's going to be a Denver Broncos decision."

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