Broncos Executive Director of Football Ops Kelly Kleine joins Nick and Cecil

On Tuesday’s Nick and Cecil, we caught up with Kelly Kleine, the Denver Broncos’ executive director of football operations. The Broncos hired Kleine just over a year ago to work at the head of the scouting department and serve as special assistant to general manager George Paton.

Kleine began working in the NFL in 2012 as a gameday PR intern with the Minnesota Vikings. From there, she spent many years in the Vikings’ scouting department, honing her craft and eye for talent. A primarily college scout, she worked in the North and Midwest as a scouting talent coming into the league. Now with the Broncos, Kleine is involved in collegiate and pro scouting — she works with Paton on everything from tracking data from practice to pro scouting, and she’s been involved in interviewing the head coach this offseason.

She’s one of the emerging talents in the scouting community, and it wouldn’t surprise me if one day Kleine were to become the first female GM in the NFL.

Here are some highlights from our interview with Kleine:


Presented by the letter “E”

I’ve written many times on about the different energies around the team. Things have changed around the building since quarterback Russell Wilson was traded to Denver. The team has no secret about who the quarterback is or how far this team can go. So, to start our interview with Kleine, I had to ask her about the energy surrounding the Broncos this offseason.

“Energy is the perfect word for it. It’s the off-season so we haven’t lost any games yet, but of course it’s fun. It’s fun to come in every day. We grow as a team, we grow as a group and we grow together with our staff and our trainers. It was really positive. We’re pumped… everyone’s pumped to come back [training] camp and get rolling.” Kleine said.


women in scouting

There is no question that football is a male domain. Most coaches are male, and certainly most in the scouting community are male. Kleine was a trailblazer for women in the scouting world. Nick wanted to ask her about that journey and how the NFL is working to get more women into scouting roles. He also added his opinion (which I share) that Kleine could one day be the first female GM in the NFL.

“I’m not thinking that far ahead, but I appreciate it! It’s amazing to me. I started in the NFL 10 years ago, almost 11 years ago now. The proportion of women in HR and coaching has increased. It’s needed and it needs to grow a ton more. There are some really good women in the college ranks who want to move up and we need to create more opportunities for them. The NFL has done a great job, the teams are doing their own programs, we’re all just connecting with each other and trying to find more women,” Kleine said.


Meaning of All Star Games

I talk about the Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl so much that the audience has made a drinking game out of it. I’ve gone to both games every year since 2007 and I truly believe these games are an important part of the scouting process. Kleine has risen through the scouting ranks, and she knows the kind of work that goes into scouting during those two weeks in late January when the NFL is relegated at those two All-Star Games. Being a scouting nerd, I wanted to know what she thinks of these games and how important they are to the pre-design process.

“It’s so important because you can see these guys competing – especially these guys at the lower level (FCS or Division III). I remember seeing Quinn Meinerz at the Senior Bowl last year. Everyone was dying to see him compete against higher tier competitors and he did a great job. I think that’s extremely important. Just stepping in front of these guys, getting to know them, talking to them, finding out if they’re committed, if they’re a good kid – if they love ball. It’s also a good team spirit for our scouts and the human resources department,” said Kleine.


Full interview

To listen to the full interview with Broncos Executive Director of Football Operations Kelly Kleine, click here.

Leave a Comment