In the two seasons since Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway took over as the executive vice president of football operations for the Denver Broncos, the franchise has won back-to-back AFC West championships as the team's personnel department has assembled one of the league's deepest rosters.
The Broncos' personnel department is getting a boost this offseason as the team officially announced the hiring of former Cleveland Browns GM Tom Heckert as their director of pro personnel.
“With more than 20 years’ experience in the NFL, Tom brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and insight to our personnel department," Elway said in remarks released by the Broncos. "He has worked in several different capacities for multiple teams, and his diverse background in talent evaluation will be a strong resource for the Broncos."
Heckert spent 10 seasons as a scout and personnel executive with the Miami Dolphins before spending nine seasons in the upper levels of the Philadelphia Eagles' personnel department. The Browns tabbed Heckert for their general manager vacancy in 2010 and he was fired after the team won just 14 games over his three seasons at the helm of the franchise. However, during his brief time with the Browns, Heckert assembled a solid core of players for new general manager Mike Lombardi to build around and his firing was due more to the franchise's recent change in ownership than Heckert's ability to find and retain talent.
Heckert was not expected to be out of a job for long following his firing by the Browns and was mentioned as a possible general manager candidate with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he would have reunited with former Eagles head coach Andy Reid. That position would ultimately go to John Dorsey, but Heckert's immediate candidacy for a general manager vacancy demonstrates how highly thought of Heckert is in the NFL, a league that is far more willing to recycle head coaches than GMs.
As the director of pro personnel with the Broncos, Heckert will work under director of player personnel Matt Russell. Heckert and Russell worked together with the Eagles, where Russell was a scout from 2006-08.