Thanks to a strong recommendation from his right-hand man Matt Russell, Broncos front-office boss John Elway hired Tom Heckert Jr. to become the team's new director of pro personnel.

The position became vacant last week when the team didn't renew the contract of Keith Kidd. Heckert will scout current NFL players and oversee the team's advanced scouting for upcoming opponents.

Heckert, 45, got his first NFL scouting job when he was 23 years old with the Miami Dolphins in 1991. He eventually rose to general manager with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2006-09 and Cleveland Browns from 2010-12.