Denver Broncos general manager George Paton takes over personnel decisions from John Elway effective immediately and it's no grand surprise the quarterback position is the first order of business.
"Quarterback is the most important position in sports," Paton said Tuesday. "If you don't have stability at quarterback, you're going to have a hard time sustaining and winning. Very important. We all want the franchise quarterback. That's the No. 1 goal."
Paton said he was attracted to the job because of the "core pieces" in place and mentioned quarterback Drew Lock as one of them.
"I liked Drew coming out of the draft," Paton said. "He's talented. He can develop."
Elway will remain with the organization in a management role but forfeits the day-to-day management of the personnel department to Paton. Paton, introduced Tuesday, was hired away from the Minnesota Vikings where he served as the right-hand man to Rick Spielman.
Paton is not planning to change coaches with Vic Fangio -- a former division rival in the NFC North with the Chicago Bears -- remaining in place.
"I had to prepare for Vic twice a year ... and that was no fun," Paton said.
With the Vikings, quarterback was a chronic concern, but Minnesota reached the playoffs with six different quarterbacks, Paton recalled. The Broncos are still determining whether Lock is the best fit in Denver.
Minnesota selected quarterback Christian Ponder 12th overall in 2011, the same draft in which the Broncos selected Von Miller No. 2. There have been rumblings that Denver might part with Miller via trade.
"All of those tough decisions start when I can meet with the coaches and the scouting staff," Paton said. "Until you have your meetings, get your plan for the offseason and develop your needs -- that's when it all starts."
Paton said all evaluations, and developing players from within, will be part of a meticulous plan. Elway made his position known on Lock, but won't block Paton from making a change.
"I'm still high on Drew," Elway said of the team's 2019 second-round draft pick. "I think he's got the physical abilities to do it. I think this year was essentially his rookie year. I think he was put behind the 8-ball with everything that went on with COVID, with offseason, especially with a young offense and new offensive coordinator. It was not by any means an ideal situation for Drew.
"Drew is a young guy, obviously," Elway said. "He showed flashes this year. He made mistakes. I made a million mistakes my first two, three years. ... Georgie is going to continue to look to fill that spot if we don't think that Drew is that guy."
Lock, 24, is 8-10 as a starter through two seasons, completing 59.1 percent of his passes for 3,953 yards with 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
--Field Level Media