Denver Broncos lack first-round NFL draft pick, but GM says Russell Wilson trade was worth it

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos general manager George Paton has moments when he misses his first-round pick -- No. 9 overall -- in next week's NFL draft, but then he quickly remembers he now has Russell Wilson at quarterback.

The Broncos will have to wait until the last pick of the second round -- No. 64 overall -- to make their first selection.

"It's tough to wait that long. ... I know I'm going to get jumpy,'' Paton said Friday. "... But then when I walk over to this presser and see our quarterback throwing to those receivers, I feel pretty good about it. And I know I'm going to feel good Week 1 because we have a franchise quarterback who brings it every day."

The last time the Broncos didn't have a first-round pick was in 2012, when they signed quarterback Peyton Manning.

Paton last month sent two first-rounders, including the No. 9 pick in this draft, two second-round picks and a fifth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for Wilson and a fourth-round pick.

The blockbuster deal took the Broncos out of the first round in this year's and next year's drafts, but they got a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in Wilson, a Super Bowl winner who gives the Broncos the kind of cache they haven't had at the position since Manning retired after winning Super Bowl 50.

So, in Paton's mind, it was worth the cost, even if it involved the kind of premium picks he has routinely said he wants to have in hand.

"It's a blessing," Paton said. "We love having first-round picks. We loved having the early second. But we also love having a franchise quarterback that sets the tone every day in the building. I come here and he's working. There's a reason he's great.

"... There's no pain in that. That first day [of the draft], we'll watch Russell Wilson highlights."

Paton also joked that his phone has been ringing of late about potential trades. He said since the team had just four picks in the 2023 draft, he would consider making a move or two next weekend that would add some picks next year.

"We're at 64; no one's really worried about who we're picking,'' Paton said. "... We do love picks. ... We'd definitely like to add picks next year."