GM for hire
Just as with the head coach position, at seasons end, there will be some turnover of General Managers in the league. After the 2012 season, we saw eight clubs hire new General Managers. This year, I’m sure the number won’t be anywhere near that high, but it is safe to say that there will be three or four changes. Who are the candidates?
Ray Farmer – Assistant General Manager, Cleveland Browns
The former Duke and Philadelphia Eagles' linebacker is a hot name among General Manager candidates. Farmer played for three years in the league and has been involved in scouting for 12 years. He started out as a pro scout in Atlanta in 2002. He joined the Kansas City Chiefs as Director of Pro Scouting in 2006. He held that position until he was hired by the Browns as Assistant General Manager this past February. Farmer is well thought of throughout the league and is sure to be high on many GM lists.
Morocco Brown – Director Pro Personnel, Washington Redskins
Brown is in his sixth year as the Pro Personnel Director in Washington. Before that, he was a pro scout for the Chicago Bears from 2001 until 2007. Brown played his college football at North Carolina State, where he was an outstanding linebacker. Like Farmer, he is well thought of throughout the league. While he has mainly been involved with pro scouting, Brown is also a very good evaluator of college talent.
Chris Ballard – Director of Player Personnel, Kansas City Chiefs
Ballard has become a hot commodity in the NFL the last couple of years. Ballard has a background in both coaching and scouting. He started working in the NFL in 2001 as an area scout for the Chicago Bears. Before that, he was a successful Defensive Coordinator at Texas A&M Kingsville. When Phil Emery became the GM in Chicago in 2012, one of the first things he did was name Ballard Director of Pro Scouting. He was in the position for a year before John Dorsey hired him in Kansas City as the Director of Player Personnel. Ballard is very bright and personable and knows how to work with coaches. On top of that, he has a strong background in both college and pro scouting. He will be an outstanding GM in the not too distant future.
Lionel Vitel – Director of Player Personnel, Atlanta Falcons
The former Nichols State running back has a long resume with 23 years of experience in player personnel. He has been with the Falcons for six seasons following stints in Baltimore, New England, Cleveland, and the New York Jets. During his time in scouting, he has served in various positions, starting out as an area scout and being promoted up the ladder to his current position in Atlanta. During his career, he has had the benefit of working with people like Ozzie Newsome and Bill Belichick, two of the best in the history of the NFL. Like Ballard, Vitel is a hot name in personnel.
Jerry Angelo – Former General Manager of the Chicago Bears
In the last several years, NFL owners have had a history of hiring young and unproven people for GM jobs. If an owner wants to go with an experienced person and one who has won division and conference titles, then Angelo should be in the conversation. Angelo was the General Manager in Chicago for 11 years, and in that period, the Bears won three division titles and a conference title. He was responsible for drafting nine Pro Bowl performers. Angelo has what none of the aforementioned candidates do, experience at the General Manager position. That should count heavily if the club is going through a difficult situation. While head coaches seem to get a second chance in the NFL, we haven’t seen too many former GMs get their second chance. One of the few that did was Bill Polian. All he did was win a Super Bowl in Indianapolis, and that was his third chance!
Scott Pioli – Former General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs
Another former GM, who will be looking for a second chance, is Pioli. While he didn’t have the success in Kansas City that Angelo had in Chicago, Scott still was a very important part of the success that New England has had. Pioli is still young, and I’m sure he has learned from his time in Kansas City. There is no doubt that he will be on some interview lists.
Follow me on Twitter: @greggabe