ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - On the heels of another successful free-agency period and NFL Draft, President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway announced a series of changes to the team's personnel department.
Eight members of the Broncos' staff were promoted, including former Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell.
Russell, now the team's Vice President of Player Personnel, has overseen the day-to-day operations of both the pro personnel and college scouting departments since 2012.
He has worked directly with Elway to make personnel decisions during the last nine seasons, and the Broncos have won five AFC West titles, two AFC Championships and a Super Bowl during that span. Elway and Russell's eight years together as the team's top two football decision-makers ranks third in the NFL. Jerry and Stephen Jones (Dallas, 31 years) and Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio (New England, 11 years) are the only active pairings who have worked together longer.
The Broncos ended the 2019 season with the third-youngest roster in the league and featured a pair of Pro Bowlers on the league's second-youngest offense (Phillip Lindsay, 2018; Courtland Sutton, 2019). The Broncos also have had three other All-Rookie selections in the past two years, as Bradley Chubb (2018), tight end Noah Fant (2019) and Dalton Risner (2019) all made the cut. Denver also traded up to select Drew Lock in the second round of the 2019 draft.
"Matt has always been a big part of it and he's always had a big voice," Elway said of Russell during the week that Denver selected Fant, Risner and Lock. "He's been right there. He's running the personnel side, so he's heavily involved on the pro side as well as the college side and the draft. Matt has always had a big voice with me and he'll continue to have that."
Russell first joined the Broncos in 2009 as the team's director of college scouting after previous stops in New England (2001, 2003-05) and Philadelphia (2006-08). Now entering his 19th season working in the NFL, Russell has helped build 11 playoff teams and four Super Bowl champions.
Mark Thewes, formerly the team's director of team administration, also joined the ranks of the team's vice presidents. He is now Denver's Vice President of Football Operations and Compliance, and he will continue to coordinate the team's football operations departments and serve as a liaison to the league office to ensure compliance on the collective bargaining agreement, roster management, scheduling and other key matters.
Darren Mougey, meanwhile, will work closely with Russell and College Scouting Director Brian Stark as the team's new Assistant Director of College Scouting. Mougey previously served as the team's western regional scout. He will continue to maintain his responsibilities in that region while also assisting in the overall college scouting process.
The Broncos also announced changes to their Football Information Systems and Football Analytics departments.
Tony Lazzaro, entering his 19th season with the team, will now lead those efforts as the Senior Director, Football Technology and Research. The departments will assist football operations in their decision-making via technology and data analysis.
Karl Schreiner will join Lazzaro in that effort as the team's Director, Football Information Systems. Schreiner designs, builds and maintains internal systems to support personnel, coaches, trainers, equipment and strength staff members.
Scott Flaska, entering his fifth season with the team, will serve as Senior Manager, Football Analytics. He has worked with football operations on data-driven research.
Richard Hildebrand is now a Senior Software Engineer with the team and contributes to the team's Football Technology and Research Department's software development.
Emily Kuehler, who assists the Football Technology and Research Department with data collection and analysis, has been named a Data Scientist for the team.
Elway, who continues to lead the Broncos' football operations, enters his 10th season as the team's lead football decision-maker.