Broncos closing in on hiring a general manager

The Broncos’ search for a new general manager advanced another stage Tuesday when the team conducted second interviews with executives George Paton (Minnesota) and Terry Fontenot (New Orleans), according to a league source.

Fontenot was up first, meeting via Zoom video conferencing with Broncos president/CEO Joe Ellis, president of football operations John Elway and coach Vic Fangio. Because the Saints’ season is ongoing, Fontenot is prohibited from an in-person meeting.

Not so for Paton, who flew to the Denver area via private plane and arrived at the Broncos’ facility mid-morning to meet with team officials.

Paton, the Vikings’ assistant general manager, and Fontenot, the Saints’ vice president/assistant general manager-pro personnel, are two of the four remaining candidates the Broncos have publicly acknowledged, joining Chicago assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly and Broncos director of college scouting Brian Stark. Paton also interviewed with Detroit last week and Fontenot has drawn interest from Atlanta and Jacksonville.

That the Broncos brought Paton to town could signal he is their top choice.

For information on Paton, the Broncos can look to two familiar faces: Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur (a Vikings assistant in 2016-17) and former coach Gary Kubiak (Minnesota’s current offensive coordinator).

“I think (hiring Paton) would be a good move,” a league source said. “Really good guy who deserves the opportunity.”

New general managers traditionally bring along a colleague or two from their former team and the source speculated that Paton would be interested in hiring Minnesota’s director of college scouting, Jamaal Stephenson, as his No. 2 front office man, essentially taking over the role vacated by the Broncos’ Matt Russell. The Vikings, though, may opt to promote Stephenson, who has been in Minnesota for 19 years, or block him from joining the Broncos.

  Keeler: If Drew Lock is George Paton’s guy, Broncos need to get him more help. Or break the bank for Dak Prescott or Deshaun Watson.

Even if Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman allows Stephenson or any other Vikings front office employee to join Paton, it likely would not be until after the draft this spring.

Paton’s evaluation chops were obviously attractive to the Broncos.

The first Vikings draft for Spielman/Paton was 2008 and their picks have included receiver Percy Harvin (first round, 2009), defensive end Everson Griffen (fourth round, 2010), tight end Kyle Rudolph (sixth round, 2011), safety Harrison Smith (first round, 2012), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (first round, 2013), receiver Stefon Diggs (fifth round, 2015), running back Dalvin Cook (second round, 2017) and receiver Justin Jefferson (first round, 2020).

During the past 10 drafts, the Vikings have drafted 13 Pro Bowl players, tied for most in the NFL with Baltimore and Kansas City. Just as important, the Vikings developed many players well enough to sign them to second contracts, chiefly Rudolph, Smith, Cook, linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive end Danielle Hunter.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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