NetApp speeds up drafting process for the Denver Broncos

NFL hall of fame quarterback and Denver Broncos GM John Elway admitted he knew there was a lot of interest from other teams for the right to choose Memphis University quarterback Paxton Lynch.

In the time it takes to say “touchdown”, Elway, the Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager, pulled the trigger and traded with the Seattle Seahawks, who already have a franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson, to obtain the 26th selection in the 2016 NFL Draft and ensure the team has its signal caller of the future.

“He was our guy and fortunately he went down a bit. That made it easier on us to go up and get him. He has a tremendous amount of athleticism. He is big and he is strong. He will continue to get better so we are extremely thrilled to have Paxton now,” Elway said.

Paxton Lynch at Memphis
Paxton Lynch at Memphis

Lynch is a 6-feet-7-inch quarterback, which is tall for that position as signal callers are between 6-feet to 6-feet, 4-inches in size. Lynch played for the University of Memphis Tigers for three seasons as a starter. In his junior season, Lynch completed close to 67 per cent of his passes for 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

The All-AAC star took the Tigers to back-to-back NCAA bowl games including a victory in the 2014 Miami Beach Bowl. Lynch  has been pegged to be the Broncos quarterback of the future now that the legendary Payton Manning is retiring after 18 seasons and two Super Bowl championships.

But how did the Broncos, who won Super Bowl 50 just last February, pull it off with a low round of draft selections?

The trade was simple enough. The Broncos traded first-round picks with Seattle and then also gave them a third-round pick, which ended up being 94th overall to move up seven spots, while still holding onto its second-round selection (No. 63) and its third-round pick (No. 98).

In the back end, storage and data management vendor NetApp managed to help the Broncos scouting staff accelerate player data with real time analysis that sped up the process for Elway and his staff.

Russ Trainor, vice president of IT for Broncos, said in preparation for draft day, the team crunches a significant amount of data, from a player’s medical history and average speed to body movement and reactions and how players perform in certain situations.

The Broncos used a NetApp FAS systems not only to enable them to analyze all of this data in or near real-time, they actually powered the team’s entire infrastructure, business apps, fan engagement applications, coaching tools and decision making based on huge amounts of data collected.

One of the issues facing the Broncos as well as other sports teams is that they are dealing with business-critical applications and want to future-proof their infrastructure, to be able to manage up to 30 per cent annual data growth. With that the team worked with PEAK Resources, a NetApp channel partner, to install NetApp storage systems.

The NetApp FAS storage system
The NetApp FAS storage system

With NetApp systems, the Broncos players, coaches, managers and support staff can now use mobile tablets. Approximately 140 tablets have been deployed for the Broncos so that they can view footage within hours of a game, regardless of location.

The new system is also cost effective as the team experienced a 25 per cent reduction in storage by using deduplication services. The system can also protect critical team and organizational assets in the event of a disaster.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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