General manager George Paton stacked picks Friday night in the third round and they turned into quite the haul for the Broncos.
Trading back for two picks in the third round, the Broncos selected Wisconsin-Whitewater offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz at pick 98 and Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning at 105.
Browning was considered by many as a second round pick, but fell right into Denver's hands in the third round. Browning started at inside linebacker at Ohio State, but has played outside as well. He totaled 109 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks in four years with the Buckeyes.
"I'll play kicker," Browning said. "I feel more comfortable at inside (linebacker), but I'll play whatever... It's time to go to work."
Meinerz skyrocketed up draft board after an impressive Senior Bowl working at center. Playing Division III football, he dominated his competition at 6-foot-3, 320 pounds. He's versatile, being able to play center or guard — two positions the Broncos desperately need depth at.
"It’s been a lot of hard work. A lot of people didn’t know who I was," Meinerz said. "I’m so excited to get back on the football field. And get to practice. And make new friends. I’m so excited to get back out there. It’s been too long."
Landing both Meinerz and Browning wouldn't have been possible without the big moves Paton made all evening.
The Broncos first moved up from 40th to 35th in the second round to pick North Carolina running back Javonte Williams, surrendering their No. 114th pick (fourth round) — a trade Paton said they started working on Thursday night. Then, they traded back in the third round with the Giants, going from No. 71 to No. 76 and picking up No. 164 (fifth round). And finally, they traded No. 76 to the Saints for No. 98 (third round) and No. 105 (third round). The Broncos now have a total of 10 picks in the draft.
Before arriving in Denver, Paton was known for helping the Vikings and general manager Rick Spielman trade back in compile picks in each draft. It's a large part of Paton's philosophy.
"We were very happy. We moved back I think 20 spots, if I'm not mistaken," Paton said. "We got the two players we wanted even going back that far... It doesn't always work out like that, but it worked out today. I just think you have to take a chance. We didn't just have two players, we had six. (Meinerz and Browning) were our top two and they were still there."
Here's what picks the Broncos have remaining heading into Day 3: No. 152, No. 164, No. 219, No. 237, No. 239, No. 253. And Paton said they may still add more.
"I'm a little disappointed we don't have a fourth round," Paton said. "We have six picks and we may have some more at the end of the day."