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ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Javonte Williams #25 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after their 38-22 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Clayton: George Paton deserves high marks for his first Broncos draft

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

While some criticize Broncos general manager George Paton for taking cornerback Patrick Surtain over quarterback Justin Fields, everyone should admit Paton was a great hire.

He covered himself at quarterback by trading a sixth-round choice for Teddy Bridgewater and only having to pay him $4.7 million. Surtain was the best defensive player on his draft board and he was added to the most talented and deepest secondary in football.

Paton also showed he’s trying to do everything to give head coach Vic Fangio the chance to win. As a defensive coach, Fangio hopes to match the quality defensive players he had as defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears.

Like his former boss, Rick Spielman with the Minnesota Vikings, Paton is willing to make bold moves and bold trades. We found out from the NFL Network’s Mike Silver that the Broncos GM tried to trade up into the first round to get Miami defensive end Jaelan Phillips. That would have been an expensive move in regards to draft choices. That ended when the Miami Dolphins took Phillips with the 18th pick instead Alabama running back Najee Harris.

The second pick got great reviews. Running back Javonte Williams was considered the third-best running back in a draft that had three top backs. Some had Williams rated as the best.

Williams was not brought in to replace Melvin Gordon, but his selection pretty well indicates Gordon might not be the team in 2022 when he’s a free agent. Gordon and Williams will be a good running back tandem.

The third round was interesting. Paton took center Quinn Meinerz and linebacker Baron Browning. They were among the better rising prospects since the end of the season.

Overall, Paton should get an A grade as long as the non-selection of Fields is not held against him.