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Mile High Morning: Getting to know the former Broncos who could be candidates in Denver's GM search

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The Lead

On Tuesday, the Broncos' GM search gets underway in earnest.

Though no candidates have been officially confirmed, it only makes sense that executives with previous work experience with the Broncos are likely to be considered.

With that said, let's delve a bit deeper into the three most common names: Champ Kelly, Adam Peters and John Spytek.

Kelly spent eight years in Denver before joining the Bears in 2017, where he is credited with implementing significant change.

"The 40-year-old Kelly was the driving force behind the team changing its NFL grading scale to match its college one," The Athletic's Dan Pompei wrote in September. "Kelly has worked with the Bears' IT team to connect analytics and video in their scouting database."

Kelly's job, Pompei wrote, is threefold: creating the team's top-100 ranking of draft prospects, leading the Bears' free-agency plans and supervising their advance scouting operations. But beyond that, Kelly has an incredible rapport with everyone, including players to coaches.

"There's no doubt in my mind he should be a GM, and soon," former Broncos and Bears head coach John Fox told Pompei.

Peters, meanwhile, is a former UCLA defensive end who helped the Broncos find players like C.J. Anderson and Chris Harris Jr, according to David Lombardi in The Athletic. After the 2016 season, John Elway permitted Peters to join the 49ers as part of John Lynch's personnel staff.

"He's very good at what he does and I hate losing him," Elway said of Peters in an interview with SFGate's Eric Branch. "But I also know that it's a great opportunity for him as far as the responsibilities that he was going to gain in San Francisco. He's going to be able to go and help John."

With the 49ers, Peters helped shape a team that would reach Super Bowl LIV. According to Lombardi's article, he played a key role in finding All-Pro tight end George Kittle and helping identify quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as a target for the 49ers.

Spytek, meanwhile, is just beginning to see the fruits of his work to reach the postseason. Tampa had cultivated a talented roster in recent years, but it wasn't until he and the Buccaneers landed Tom Brady that they looked to make the leap.

"You know, obviously we had a big decision to make in the off-season this year with Jameis [Winston] and it's my job to put as many ideas on the table as possible, along with the rest of our scouting department," Spytek told The Michigan Insider's Josh Newkirk. "And it was a an extremely unique year with Tom being a free agent along with Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, and the Cam Newton ends up there. So, we just did our best to sort through all of it. We kind of came to a conclusion of where we are at as a franchise that Tom would be at the top of the list given that he still playing at an amazingly high level, and then with all the leadership he could add to a very young team with a lot of good players."

Off the field, Spytek and his wife, Kristen Hutchinson Spytek, founded the National CMV Foundation after losing their daughter, Evelyn, at 21 months old because of the congenital disease.

Below the Fold

After Elway's decision to restructure the football operations department, is Drew Lock's spot as the Broncos' starting quarterback as secure as it was before? "Lock may still [be] the favorite to become the Broncos' opening day quarterback in 2021," Klis wrote. "But there is a chance the new GM, and head coach Vic Fangio, may look through free agency or trade for a veteran quarterback with significant starting experience. The Broncos also figure to do their due diligence with quarterbacks in the upper part of the draft, beginning, perhaps, with the No. 9 overall pick in the first round."

The Unclassifieds

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