Oh, no. Say it ain’t so, George Paton. Is this your idea of a cruel joke, my friend?
There was no new quarterback for the Broncos in the NFL draft. Really? What were you thinking, George?
We better hope that on his way out of Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers decides to stop and play quarterback in our dusty old cowtown for three or four seasons before taking his dream job as the host of “Jeopardy!”
With the ninth pick in the first round, Paton lost the trust of Broncos Country. The honeymoon’s over for the new general manager. The peeps are not happy. With Denver on the clock and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields there for the taking, Paton did the draftnik thing and geeked out on cornerback Patrick Surtain II of Alabama.
Pour me a Hazy IPA, bartender. And keep ’em coming. We’re going to need something to deaden the pain of this Broncos’ blunder.
As the son of a former NFL player, Surtain was born to play elite defense.
“I learned a lot from him … His game translated a lot to my game,” said Surtain, a chip off his old Pops, who was named to the Pro Bowl three times during an 11-year pro career.
Well, lah-di-dah. But I guess there’s nothing wrong with Surtain being proud of his genes.
“We’re going to be the No. 1 defense, when it’s all said and done,” added Surtain, doubling down on the healthy arrogance every shut-down corner needs.
But the selection of Surtain does absolutely nothing to stir the imagination of a Denver fan base that has suffered through a five-year playoff drought.
It seems as if Paton collects cornerbacks the way my dear, late mother once obsessed about Beanie Babies. I’m sure Paton loves Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller as much as Mom once adored Peace Bear and Peanut the Elephant. But Darby has as much chance of leading Denver back to the Super Bowl as Peanut ending the Broncos’ 11-game losing streak to Kansas City.
If Paton doesn’t have John Elway on the phone, sweet-talking Packers president Mark Murphy, laying the groundwork for a Rodgers trade to Denver, the Broncos are doing it all wrong.
Surtain is the kind of pick you make when your franchise is a long way down the road from the Super Bowl. And I feel confident speaking on behalf of Broncos Country when I grouse: We’re tired of waiting for this team to be relevant again in the championship conversation.
At age 37, could Rodgers be the No Plan B for Paton? Let’s hope so.
Following in the footsteps of Peyton Manning, maybe Rodgers can create a winning second act of his Hall of Fame career in the Rocky Mountains.
During the hours leading up to the draft, Rodgers totally upstaged Roger Goodell’s little reality TV show by letting it slip that wearing the green and gold on the frozen tundra has left him feeling cold and unappreciated after throwing 412 touchdown passes during 16 stellar seasons as quarterback of the Packers.
Yes, Rodgers is the fourth quarter of his career. Yes, he dreams of moonlighting as a game-show host. Yes, he can be a bit of a pouty diva.
But what should Paton give up to get Rodgers? Anything the Packers want. For starters. Then throw in another first-round pick to seal the deal.
Even Jake from State Farm knows Rodgers can still spin the football with MVP skill. His presence in the Denver huddle would immediately put the Broncos back on equal footing with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Paton does his homework. And he might well make brilliant choices throughout the remainder of his first draft as the architect of the Broncos’ revival.
But it won’t mean a thing unless Paton also does one more thing:
Bring Mr. Rodgers to our neighborhood.
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