ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — George Paton has been making big-time acquisitions behind the scenes as well.
Paton and the Broncos hired away Reed Burckhardt from the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday and made him Denver’s new director of player personnel, a source told 9NEWS.
A former backup quarterback at South Dakota State, Burckhardt had spent the previous 13 years with the Vikings – nearly 12 of those while working with Paton – and most recently had been their director of pro scouting. Although the Vikings had overhauled most of their front office this offseason, they wanted to keep Burckhardt.
Instead, he got a nice promotion from the Broncos and a chance to reunite with Paton.
Paton, the Broncos’ general manager, now has a personnel staff that includes assistant GM Darren Mougey, Burckhardt, director of pro personnel A.J. Durso, director of college scouting Brian Stark, senior personnel executive Roman Phifer and executive director of football operations Kelly Kleine, whom Paton hired away from the Vikings last year.
Paton was the Vikings’ assistant GM for 14 years before succeeding John Elway as the Broncos’ GM prior to last season.
The primary responsibility for Paton and his personnel staff, of course, is to build a competitive roster. After experiencing five consecutive losing seasons for the first time since the franchise had 10 consecutive losing records from 1963-72, the Broncos now have star quarterback Russell Wilson, edge rusher Randy Gregory and defensive tackle D.J. Jones added to this year’s roster.
Paton’s predecessor is impressed.
"He was the piece we needed," Elway said Wednesday of Wilson. "We had a good football team around him and I think George did a tremendous job of putting that deal together and getting him here. It’s great to see the fan base energized again.
"We've got a chance to compete in the AFC West, which obviously is going to be tough. But again like anything we've got to stay healthy. We've had a tough time doing that the last several years. If we can stay healthy, Russ has been there, he's won Super Bowls, he knows what it takes and the leadership he's provided has been tremendous."
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