By Romi Bean

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– The 2021 NFL Draft is one week away and the Denver Broncos new general manager George Paton is confident that with the ninth overall pick, the team is going to end up with a player who will make an immediate impact.

“We have nine picks and three picks in the first 75, and we’re really excited. If we stand pat, we think we’ll get an impact player at No. 9. We’re looking forward to it and we feel that we’re in prime position to upgrade our football team,” Paton said.

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The Broncos solidified the defense in the offseason, signing Justin Simmons to a long-term deal, exercising Von Miller’s option and re-signing Shelby Harris and Kareem Jackson. They also brought in two cornerbacks in Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller. Those moves have given the Broncos flexibility in the draft.

“We’re picking at No. 9 and I really like that. I think we filled enough needs in free agency where we don’t have to reach for a player. We can take the best player within reason. We have the flexibility to move up, or we can move back,” Paton said.

(credit: CBS)

Paton has said since his arrival that bringing in competition for Drew Lock at quarterback is essential. However, the team did not sign or trade for a quarterback in the early stages of free agency. That could mean the Broncos are eyeing a young gun in the draft, or even waiting until after.

“We do like Drew Lock. What we don’t want to do is force it and bring a guy in or overpay a guy to come in and he’s not as good as the guy we have and maybe he’s not good enough to compete. We want to get the right guy, and we still have time. There’s a trade market and we still have the draft. The landscape may change after the draft. If a team drafts one, maybe that quarterback is on the market. We’re going to be patient and not force it. We realize we want competition, and I’ve said that since I’ve gotten here. That hasn’t changed,” Paton said.

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Many are expecting a heavy run on quarterbacks early in the first round, which means the Broncos could potentially trade up to get the guy they want, or they could do the opposite and acquire additional picks by trading down.

“We haven’t made any calls yet to move up. We’ve received calls to move back. If we feel a player can help us and can upgrade us, and if we feel he’s worth going to get, we’re going to go get him,” Paton said.

If the Broncos make a big trade in the first round, it is likely to only happen once the draft is underway.

“It’s draft-day trade because you don’t know if the player is going to be there. Typically, these happen when they’re on the clock. Obviously, we had a few trades early, but they knew they were going to get one of their players. If we were to move up, we’re not sure the player we’re moving up for would be there.”

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The 2021 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April, 29 at 6 p.m.

Romi Bean