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Broncos Journal: Does Sean Payton’s first team in Denver have depth to withstand regular-season rigors?

The spender and the saver sat next to each other during the NFL Draft in April, smiling at their recent additions and perhaps feeling slightly differently about their capital moving forward.

When the spender, Broncos head coach Sean Payton, asked the saver, general manager George Paton, how much they had left in their draft wallets, Paton noted diligently the checkbook balance: “A pair of sixths.”

Hey, Payton said, you can find, “probably a couple of dishwashers” with that.

Maybe they did in safety JL Skinner and center Alex Forsyth.

But over the past couple of years, big expenditures have taken bites out of Denver’s ability to keep the pantry full.

There’s no one reason it happened. In fact, Paton was at the center of dealing five picks — four of them first- and second-rounders — for Russell Wilson in March 2022. Then he got a first-rounder for Bradley Chubb, and CEO Greg Penner flipped it to New Orleans for the right to hire Payton.

Instead of trading back and perhaps stashing a couple of extra picks, the Broncos traded up twice this April, first for wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. and later for cornerback Riley Moss.

But overall, Denver had just five picks overall after nine (all after the first 63 picks) in 2022.

Skinner and Forsyth, meanwhile, were Day 3 picks a year after the Broncos took Delarrin Turner-Yell and Luke Wattenberg at essentially the same positions in, relatively speaking, a similar part of the draft.

This is the residual impact of having three coaches in as many drafts. Paton has adjusted his scouting eye from Vic Fangio to Nathaniel Hackett to Payton winter by winter by winter, and there is, unavoidably, overlap.

As Paton and Payton prepared for their first draft together, ESPN analyst and former executive Louis Riddick called the constant coaching churn “the worst position you can possibly be put in” for a general manager.

“It’s starting from scratch every single frickin’ time. Every coach is well within their right to come in there and (make changes). I think it would behoove coaches to not just throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, and try to salvage whatever they can and not just automatically say, ‘Well, because I wasn’t here when all these guys were picked, they’re all (bad).’ Some coaches do that.”

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