ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The second episode of the Broncos' behind-the-scenes docuseries "Behind the Broncos: No Shortcuts" aired on Friday night on the team's official YouTube page, and the episode takes a closer look at free agency and the lead-up to the draft.
This episode of "Behind the Broncos: No Shortcuts" offers Broncos fans a chance to go inside General Manager George Paton's office after deals with Justin Simmons and Shelby Harris, to go out on the road with the team's scouting staff and much more.
Read on for a recap of some of the top moments from the second episode, and click on the video above to check out the full episode.
INSIDE PATON'S OFFICE
The bulk of this episode focuses on Simmons, the All-Pro safety, and his recent contract extension that will keep in Denver through at least 2024.
The segment on Simmons begins with an inside look at Paton's phone call to Simmons after he agreed to terms on the new deal.
"[The] No. 1 priority was to get you locked up, and I'm as happy as you are," Paton said. "We're going to win here. You're the core here. There's a handful of you guys. We need a bunch more.
"… You just do what you've been doing. That's why we're rewarding you, because you deserve it. You've earned every penny of it. You deserve it. You're the best safety in the league and you're an even better person from what I understand."
In a sit-down interview for the episode, Simmons explains that Paton's respect for him means a great deal. As such, he feels a responsibility to prove Paton right for placing his faith in him.
"Anyone that's met George … just knows there's that serious confidence that he just holds and he carries with him," Simmons said. "… He really does believe in the type of player and person that I am and what I can bring to this organization. … There's something about when someone believes in you, it just makes you play so much better. That's why, for me, playing the last two years, I've had people that believed in me. It wasn't necessarily me wanting to prove people wrong more than I wanted to prove the people that believed in me right.
"George believes in me, and I'm going to make sure I prove him right."
Harris, in his own conversation with Paton, echoed his gratitude for the support from the front office.
"I feel appreciated," Harris said. "That's the thing. … This shows the young guys that the organization appreciates its players. That speaks volumes."
The most appreciated person in the episode, though, may have been Simmons' young daughter, Laney. After Simmons' press conferences, fans get a quick glimpse at the family's trip to get Laney a hot chocolate.
"[Want] a small one?" Simmons asks his daughter.
"No, a big one!" she replies.
ON THE ROAD
Over the last few weeks, the Broncos have released clips of Paton criss-crossing the country as he's stopped at a variety of pro days. In this episode of "Behind the Broncos: No Shortcuts," we get a closer look at the reason why the Broncos have traveled to a handful of schools in recent weeks.
"Typically the pro days, that's when you have an opportunity to confirm what you saw on film or to contradict some of the things," Director of College Scouting Brian Stark said. "You get a chance to further investigate any concerns you have about prospects as you're going through. It's a great opportunity for us to gather more information. The more information the better with regards to all these prospects."
The Broncos' scouting contingent varied from stop to stop, but Paton and Co. all emphasized that the pro day process was much more important this season given the restrictions put in place by COVID-19.
"This year's [important] because we didn't get to see a lot of these players live," Paton said. "We weren't able to go to as many games as we typically do, so this is the first chance for us to get a live look.
"… It's really vital that we get out and hit these pro days."
It's clear during this segment that Paton has earned the respect of the people he's worked alongside for the last several months.
"He's a scout, there's no doubt," Stark said. "He approaches the pro days the way that me or anyone else on the college staff would. He's in tune with what's going on during the pro day. He's engaged with the sources at the school. He's asking questions, he's taking notes."
Paton, Stark and College/Pro Scout Deon Randall all also explain just how draining the constant scouting process can be. As Paton gets off the plane in State College, Pennsylvania, he turns to the camera looking for information.
"Where are we?" Paton said. "I have no idea where we are."
BACK IN THE WAR ROOM
The first full segment of the episode comes in the team's war room, where Broncos fans are able to hear members of the front office talk candidly about a potential addition to the team's roster. It's an insightful look at the process the Broncos' front office goes through to evaluate players.
Broncos Director of Pro Personnel A.J. Durso is one of the talent evaluators in the room, and he offered an explanation of how the front office works with the team's coaching staff.
"We've got the film going and we're going through a guy's background," Durso said. "We're getting as good of a feel as we can for the person as well as the player. We want guys who are going to fit what we want here as far as on and off the field. On the scouting side, we don't want the coaches to have to look at everybody. We want to get it dialed down for them and when the coaches come back and say, 'Yeah, we think he's a top guy too,' then it makes you feel good because everything's working together. Then you go out and try to go get that player."
The episode largely showcases the Broncos' free-agent moves, which gives Denver intriguing flexibility heading into the draft.
"We did a good job in free agency filling needs, so now we can just grab the best player available," Paton said. "That was the goal from the very beginning, try to fill as many needs as we can on our football team so when we get in the draft, we draft the best player."
Stay tuned for Episode 3 of "Behind the Broncos: No Shortcuts"