ENGLEWOOD (Colo.) — Friday's last round pick was Oklahoma outside linebacker/defensive tackle. Nik BonittoHis radar: Denver BroncosGeorge Paton, general manager of the team, said that he had to wait for many “tense” moments before making the first selection.
In the wake of the blockbuster quarterback deal, the Broncos have signed the contract to acquire the quarterback. Russell WilsonLast month, the Broncos did not get a pick in Thursday’s first round. They didn't receive a second-round pick till 64th overall, the last pick of the round. Bonitto was their top target heading into the evening. The wait to pick him was a rollercoaster ride that nearly forced the Broncos up.
Paton stated, “We thought Nik to be one of the most skilled pass-rushers out there.” “Just the bend, speed, and burst. We didn't expect him to be there, so we were lucky. He still needs to improve his strength. We'll have a great wave with Nik, and he will be an addition to our group.
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“[I was]Bonitto stated that he was just getting a vibe of the staff and the men up there. They made me feel important. They made me feel valued and important. It was a gut feeling that I could make it to them and be lucky enough to be chosen there. That's exactly what happened.”
Bonitto, a former Oklahoma player who had 33 tackles for loss as well as 18.5 sacks in his career, was a target of the Broncos at the draft's wind-up. He visited the team’s complex in recent week. The Broncos are Bradley ChubbAnd Randy GregoryThey are their top pass-rushers but each has injury questions. Since his rookie season in 2018, Chubb has not played a full year. Gregory just had shoulder surgery. He hasn't played more 14 games since 2018, when he was a rookie.
Paton said that the draft's class in edge rushers was very deep. He also stated that he wanted to have “a wave” of rushers along with the quarterbacks facing the Broncos in the AFC West. If all goes according the plan, Bonitto could contribute quickly to Broncos' nickel packages.
Gregory underwent surgery to repair his shoulder after signing a $70 million, five-year deal with the Broncos. He was their top free agent target. Gregory has not taken part in the offseason programs.
“[Bonitto]Paton stated that he is “very dynamic in what he dos.” He said that he was going to strengthen the group. That's exactly what you need for our division, and in this league.
Paton stated that the Broncos were “tempted” to trade up for Bonitto as they felt he wouldn’t be around when the No. 64 selection was made. They chose patience.
Paton stated that they had many conversations and it worked out. “We were really close.” [to making a trade]”…we had a very good deal…but we waited.”
Paton indicated that the Broncos appreciated Bonitto's versatility. He showed that he was able to work from many different positions on the Sooners' defense front. Bonitto needs to have more strength in run defense. But, the Broncos are not concerned about his potential to be an impact rusher.
Bonitto stated that her p-rush is unique. It is a compliment to other guys. It's being able “to fit in” when it comes to rushing.