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The GM Candidates

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So as we're getting down to the final days, I've decided to concentrate on the names that have been mentioned at least once or twice as candidates for the Panthers GM job.

The (now updated) candidates to be profiled here are...

[i]Marc Ross, Director of College Scouting, New York Giants[/i]

[i]Dave Gettleman, Senior Pro Personnel Analyst, New York Giants[/i]

[i]Lake Dawson, Vice President of Player Personnel, Tennessee Titans[/i]

[i]George Paton, Assistant General Manager, Minnesota Vikings[/i]

[i]Steve Keim, Vice President of Player Personnel, Arizona Cardinals[/i]

[i]Eric DeCosta, Assistant General manager, Baltimore Ravens[/i]

[i]Tom Gamble, Director of Player Personnel, San Francisco 49ers[/i]

[i]Joey Clinkscales, Director of Player Personnel, Oakland Raiders[/i]

So here goes...
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[size=7][i][b]Marc Ross[/b][/i][/size]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v155/misterscot/GMs/MarcRoss-1.jpg[/img]

[b]MENTIONED BY: [/b]Adam Schefter, Adam Caplan, Mike Lombardi, Jason LaCanfora, Mike Florio

[b]AGE:[/b] 39

[b]CURRENT JOB:[/b] Director of College Scouting, New York Giants (2007-Present)

[u][b]HISTORY[/b][/u]

National Scout, Buffalo Bills (2004-2006)
College Scouting Director, Philadelphia Eagles (2000-2004)
Eastern Regional Scout, Philadelphia Eagles (1997-2000)

[u][b]EXPERIENCE[/b][/u]

Talent Evaluation: 16 Years
Talent Acquisition: 10 Years
Roster/Cap Management: None

[b][u]PANTHER CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Was with the Eagles during Head Coach Ron Rivera’s tenure as a linebacker coach (1999-2003). Also there for seven of the years that Sean McDermott was with the Eagles and may have worked directly with McDermott, whose title from 1999-2000 was “Scouting Administrative Coordinator”. No local ties.

[b][u]ACCORSI CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Ross joined the Giants organization about a month after Accorsi retired. Obviously, there are plenty of common acquaintances between them in the Giants front office.

[b]PRIOR INTERVIEWS: [/b]Bears, Seahawks, Colts

[b][u]ODDS AND ENDS[/u][/b]

Became the youngest person ever named a Director of College Scouting in 2000 with the Eagles (age 27). Has been rumored by more than one NFL reporter to be the leading candidate for the job of Panthers GM.

[b][u]ANALYSIS[/u][/b]

Easily the favorite name on the lips of Huddlers these days, and there are reasons. The Giants have been to two Super Bowls and have been consistent contenders since Ross started running their drafts in 2007. They’ve found their share of stars in the draft and even post draft with guys like Victor Cruz. Throw in that he’s a hot name in the “future GM” discussion around the league and he comes off in interviews as a guy who knows what he’s talking about.

So where’s the downside?

One possible red flag is that Ross’ interview history has a Riveraesque tint to it. He’s been a hot candidate for a while now, and despite being interviewed repeatedly, no one’s even made him an offer. The odds look good that the Panthers may break that trend. Here's hoping that if they do, they get better results than they did with the last guy they hired after several other teams passed on him.

Add in that while Ross’ pedigree in personnel evaluation looks great, he has zero experience in cap management. That’s a bit of an issue for a team that’s likely to have a complicated (putting it mildly) cap situation in the years to come. You’d likely also need to bring in a good cap man to work with him.

In fairness though, that same issue applies to almost every GM candidate that's been mentioned. It looks like the Panthers are looking for an evaluator, not an administrator.

And that being the case, Ross may indeed be the man.

[b][u]QUOTABLE[/u][/b]

"He's a veteran personnel guy, and he's been around two or three different clubs, so he's seen how things are done differently at different places. And he's smart. He's a people person, a terrific evaluator, and he's qualified."

[i]- Jerry Reese, General Manager, New York Giants[/i]

[b]TEAM BIO:[/b] [url="http://www.giants.com/team/staff/marc-ross/b3f10aa5-b99b-4517-8abd-ea613a65d0de"]Giants.com[/url]

[b]TEAM DRAFT HISTORY: [/b][url="http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=3410&type=team"]NFL.com[/url]

[b][u]FURTHER READING[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2008/04/giants_have_select_talent_in_t.html"]Giants have select talent in top scout[/url]
[url="http://blogs.suntimes.com/bears/2012/01/a_closer_look_at_marc_ross_of_.html"]A closer look at Marc Ross of the Giants[/url]
[url="http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/ross_loss_gain_for_big_blue_JGkMgk57VrU6C2XvtKBSoO"][u]Ross' loss gain for Giants[/u][/url]

[u][b]VIDEO[/b][/u]

[url="http://www.giants.com/media-vault/videos/Draft-Process-with-Dir-College-Scouting-Marc-Ross/1dfa8f34-dcce-49db-8cac-b0dc960de317"]Talking draft process with Giants Director of College Scouting Marc Ross[/url]


[size=5][b]UPDATE: [/b][/size]Unless the Panthers try to get him for another job (which I'd support) or the Jets hire him, looks like he'll be headed back to the Giants.
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[size=7][i][b]Dave Gettleman[/b][/i][/size]

[img]http://prod.static.giants.clubs.nfl.com/assets/images/imported/NYG/photos/dave-gettleman/gettleman_article_010913.jpg[/img]

[b]MENTIONED[/b][b] BY: [/b]Jason LaCanfora, Mike Lombardi, Mike Florio

[b]AGE:[/b] 61

[b]CURRENT JOB:[/b] Senior Pro Personnel Analyst, New York Giants (2012)

[b][u]HISTORY[/u][/b]

Director of Pro Personnel, New York Giants (1999-2011)
Assistant to the Director of Pro Personnel, New York Giants (1998)
Regional Scout, Denver Broncos (1994-1997)
Regional Scout, BLESTO (1992-1993)
Northeast Area Scout / Combine Rep, Buffalo Bills (1987-1992)
Scouting Intern, Buffalo Bills (1986)

[b][u]EXPERIENCE[/u][/b]

Talent Evaluation: 25 Years
Talent Acquisition: 14 Years
Roster/Cap Management: None

[b][u]PANTHER CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Spent seven years working with later-to-be Panthers GM Bill Polian when he was with the Bills. OL Coach John Matsko worked with the Giants for one year (1998). Was with the Giants for all but one year of former Panthers head Coach John Fox's tenure there. Was the Director of Pro Personnel in New York when the Giants acquired former Panthers Quarterback Kerry Collins.

[b][u]ACCORSI CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Worked directly with Accorsi for nine years. It was Accorsi who recommended him as a GM candidate to the Cleveland Browns (who chose George Kokinis instead).

[b]PRIOR INTERVIEWS: [/b]Browns

[b][u]ODDS AND ENDS[/u][/b]

Presided over the scouting evaluation of the Patriots both times the Giants beat them in the Super Bowl. The latter effort included a 125 page report written by one of his pro scouts.

[b][u]ANALYSIS[/u][/b]

Gettleman's been a part of a lot of successful teams, and he's contributed a lot to those efforts. He's got plenty of experience in everything but cap management (another one who'd need a strong cap guy) including extensive experience scouting other teams strengths and weaknesses.

I find the story about the 125 page report (which became the basis for the Giants successful game plan against the Patriots) especially intriguing. Can't help but wonder if anyone on the Panthers staff has ever produced 125 pages on anything.

The flip side: Old school. Old guard. Old man. Choose your "old" description here. Gettleman is far and away the oldest candidate for the job. It's likely if he were hired he'd also want to bring along an "heir apparent" to groom for his eventual replacement. Marc Ross would be a dream, though a more likely option might be Matt Shauger (the source of the aforementioned report).

Add in that, like Tom Gamble, Gettleman has a history with former Panthers GM Bill Polian, so you have to wonder what he's heard from Polian about the organization. I worry less about that with Gettleman than I do with Gamble though. Why? Because Gettleman's association with Polian was [i]before[/i] he joined the Panthers. Gamble's was during and after.

Bottom Line: No one on the list has got a stronger connections to Ernie Accorsi than Gettleman, not even Marc Ross. So if the old saying about how it's not what you know but who you know that gets you hired, Gettleman could be the guy.

[b][u]QUOTABLE[/u][/b]

“Dave has been a great mentor for myself and Kenny (Sternfield, Giants Director of Pro Personnel). He is a true professional that knows the business and he has the Super Bowl rings to back it up.”

[i]- Jerry Reese, General manager, New York Giants[/i]

[b]TEAM BIO:[/b] [url="http://www.giants.com/team/staff/dave-gettleman/695ee783-862e-4ed5-bb35-aecea77aa9cb"]Giants.com[/url]

[b]TEAM DRAFT HISTORY: [/b][url="http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=3410&type=team"]NFL.com[/url]

[b][u]FURTHER READING[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-scouts-honor-super-bowl-setting-article-1.1016376"]Giants scouts already focused on the future[/url]
[url="http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/21413784/monday-observations-looking-for-next-big-thing-when-it-comes-to-gms"]Looking for the next big thing when it comes to GMs[/url]
[url="http://www.cleveland.com/browns/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/sports/1232530222284810.xml&coll=2"]Cleveland Browns to interview Gettleman for GM job[/url]

[b][u]VIDEO[/u][/b]

None found (heck, you can barely even find a [i]picture[/i] of this guy)

[size=5][b]UPDATE:[/b][/size] The Panthers have officially named Dave Gettleman the new GM.
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[i][b][size=7]Lake Dawson[/size][/b][/i]

[img]http://www.titansonline.com/assets/images/news/dawson175.jpg[/img]

[size=4][b]MENTIONED BY: [/b]Joe Person, [/size]Pat Yasinskas

[size=4][b]AGE:[/b] 41

[b]CURRENT JOB:[/b] Vice President of Player Personnel, Tennessee Titans (2012)

[b][u]HISTORY[/u][/b][/size]

Vice President of Football Operations, Tennessee Titans (2011)
Director of Pro Scouting[size=4], Tennessee Titans (2007-2010)[/size]
Assistant Director of Pro Personnel, Seattle Seahawks (2005-2006)
Pro Personnel Assistant, Seattle Seahawks (2001-2004)

[size=4][b][u]EXPERIENCE[/u][/b]

Talent Evaluation: 12 Years
Talent Acquisition: 2 Years
Roster/Cap Management: None[/size]

[size=4][b][u]PANTHER CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Fred Graves became the receiver coach in Tennessee the same year that Dawson joined the team. Played for the Colts when former Panthers front office guys Bill Polian and Dom Anile were in charge and two former Panther coaches - Vic Fangio and George Catavalos - were coaching on the def[/size][size=4]ensive side of the ball.[/size] Graduated from Notre Dame like Panthers backup QB Jimmy Clausen.

[size=4][b][u]ACCORSI CONNECTIONS[/u][/b][/size]

[size=4]No direct connections I can find.

[b]PRIOR INTERVIEWS: [/b]Rams, other teams have expressed interest (Bears, possibly Titans) but no other interviews I can find on record[/size]

[size=4][b][u]ODDS AND ENDS[/u][/b][/size]

Played four years with the Chiefs and one with the Colts. In that time, caught passes from two legendary quarterbacks; Joe Montana in his final season and Peyton Manning in his second. [size=4]Attended high school on the same district as Charlotte Bobcats GM Rich Cho. Both men would later spend time working in the city of Seattle. Has a master's degree in business.

[b][u]ANALYSIS[/u][/b][/size]

Dawson's been doing the "title shuffle" for the past few years in Tennessee. That's something you usually see from a team when they know a guy they want to keep is drawing interest elsewhere. He's well spoken of and said to be very bright and has been part of some decent teams. Although he hasn't been a part of any championships, the Seahawks Super Bowl run came the same year he assumed a high job in the pro personnel department. That run included a defeat of the Panthers in the 2005 NFC Championship.

[size=4]The questions? Lack of Championship experience compared to some other candidates is one. In truth, he has less overall experience than any other GM candidate (short of Brandon Beane, if you take that seriously). I also have to admit that I find it a little odd that he didn't get the Rams job last season given that he'd worked for four years prior to that with new Rams coach Jeff Fisher. Throw in that the guy with whom he started his current run in Tennessee, Mike Reinfeldt, was just fired (though it's a common belief that he was a scapegoat).[/size]

[size=4]My ultimate take? Could be one of those sleeper types. Wouldn't be my first choice (maybe not even my second) but clearly a smart guy who seems to be on the rise.[/size] If he got the job it'd be no surprise to see him bring front office veteran Reinfeldt with him in some capacity.

[size=4][b][u]QUOTABLE[/u][/b][/size]

“Lake, he’s destined to be a GM here at some point. We’re planning on him being around for a while.”

[i]- Ruston Webster, General [size=4]Manager, Tennessee Titans[/size][/i]

[size=4][b]TEAM BIO:[/b] [url="http://www.titansonline.com/team/staff/lake-dawson/99cc086b-f283-4a3b-8b4a-94ebe5ab20c8"]Titans.com[/url]

[b]TEAM DRAFT HISTORY: [/b][url="http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=2100&type=team"]NFL.com[/url]

[b][u]FURTHER READING[/u][/b][/size]

[url="http://www.federalwaymirror.com/sports/138605489.html"]Lake Dawson rising through Titans’ front office[/url]
[url="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d825e0a6a/article/rams-interview-titans-dawson-falcons-snead-for-gm-job"]Rams interview Titans' Dawson, Falcons' Snead for GM job[/url]
[url="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8261c7bd/article/titans-promote-soughtafter-execs-reinfeldt-webster-dawson?module=HP11_headline_stack"]Titans promote sought-after execs Reinfeldt, Webster, Dawson[/url]

[size=4][b][u]VIDEO[/u][/b][/size]

None Found


[b][size=5]UPDATE:[/size][/b] Received an interview. Was not offered the job.
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[b][i][size=7]George Paton [/size][/i][/b]

[img]http://nbcprofootballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/george-paton-20119-e1328565909137.jpg?w=213[/img]

[b]MENTIONED BY: [/b]Jay Glazer, Brad Biggs, Joe Person, Pat Yasinskas

[b]AGE:[/b] 43

[b]CURRENT JOB:[/b] Assistant General Manager, Minnesota Vikings (2012)

[b][u]HISTORY[/u][/b]

Director of Player Personnel, Minnesota Vikings (2007-2011)
Director of Pro Personnel, Miami Dolphins (2001-2006)
Assistant Director of Pro Personnel, Chicago Bears (2000)
Pro Scout, Chicago Bears (1998-1999)
Scouting Assistant, Chicago Bears (1997)

[b][u]EXPERIENCE[/u][/b]

Talent Evaluation: 16 Years
Talent Acquisition: 13 Years
Roster/Cap Management: 1 Year

[b][u]PANTHER CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

He and his boss (Vikings GM Rick Spielman) both worked for the Bears during Ron Rivera's time as a coach there. Likewise, both were with the Dolphins for two years while Mike Shula was coaching in Miami and both were in Minnesota for four of fromer ST Coach Brian Murphy's years there. Assistant WR Coach Ricky Proehl was playing for the Bears the same year Paton signed on as a member of the scouting department .

[b][u]ACCORSI CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

No direct connections found

[b]PRIOR INTERVIEWS: Rams [/b](reportedly took himself out of the running)

[b][u]ODDS AND ENDS[/u][/b]

Played some semi-pro ball inbetween graduating from college and getting hired by the Bears. Name automatically lends itself to allusions to World War II General George S Patton. Despite the spelling, last name is not actually pronounced like "Patton" but rather like "Payton". Bears a minor resemblance to broadcaster and former Panthers QB Steve Beuerlein. Played defensive back for UCLA.

[b][u]ANALYSIS[/u][/b]

Paton and boss Rick Spielman are both very well respected around the league. Spielman is considered a very good GM and personnel man, so Paton's been in what's considered good company. He's another one whose team is trying very heard to keep him despite interest from other teams. The 'Assistant GM' title was likely conferred at least in part to try to keep him from taking the Rams GM job (for which he was said to be a finalist).

As both a director of player personnal and an assistant GM, he's been responsible for covering both the pro and college scouting sides of the job. The latter title would also likely have given him a little experience working with the salary cap; something that's nice to have, but clearly not a prerequisite for the Panthers,

Possible negatives? Like Dawson, while he's served with some very good teams, he hasn't really been that close to championship caliber teams, The bigger issue though? He's been pretty much joined at the hip with Spielman since the early 90s/ You have to wonder a little about whether he'll be just as good on his own. Spielman and the Vikings think so - as do others - but plenty of people apprenticed to good superiors have proven not to be equal to the task when asked to fly solo.

The larger red flag though? He and Spielman, although generally well respected, have been part of a couple of [i]highly[/i] questionable recent transactions.

Paton was part of the Dolphins regime that thought Drew Brees injury was too severe for him to be a successful QB again and chose instead to trade for Daunte Culpepper (Spielman left for Minnesota shortly thereafter). Later, while with the Vikes in 2010, they traded a third rounder to the Pats for former Viking - and notorious malcontent - Randy Moss, who would up being cut about a month later.

Ouch :(

Bottom line: Overall, I wouldn't necessarily call him a [i]bad[/i] candidate, and prior connections to Rivera may make it easier for them to work together. With that sid though, I definitely wouldn't see him as the best option when compared to Marc Ross or Dave Gettleman.

[b][u]QUOTABLE[/u][/b]

“George has been an integral part of our personnel department since he arrived in 2007. His work ethic, leadership , professionalism and keen eye for identifying talented football players will continue to be a major asset for our organization as we take on the challenges of competing in the NFC North and winning the Super Bowl.”

[i]- Rick Spielman, General Manager, Minnesota Vikings[/i]

[b]TEAM BIO:[/b] [url="http://www.vikings.com/team/staff/george-patton/c9e584f5-9a36-4c40-8e8a-5d2f78c12dec"]Vikings.com[/url]

[b]TEAM DRAFT HISTORY: [/b][url="http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=3000&type=team"]NFL.com[/url]

[b][u]FURTHER READING[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/148611395.html?refer=y"]The main question: 'Is he a good football player?'[/url]
[url="http://vikingsauthority.com/vikings-ast-gm-paton-a-top-candidate-for-nfl-gm-jobs/"]Vikings Ast. GM Paton a top candidate for NFL GM jobs[/url]
[url="http://www.twincities.com/vikings/ci_19944822"]Vikings keep George Paton with promotion to assistant GM[/url]

[b][u]VIDEO[/u][/b]

None Found


[b][size=5]UPDATE:[/size][/b] Was reportedly scheduled to interview this week, but with the hiring of Dave Gettleman expect that to be cancelled (unless they want to offer him something else).
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[i][b][size=7]Steve Keim[/size][/b][/i]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v155/misterscot/GMs/SteveKeim.jpg[/img]

[b]MENTIONED BY: [/b]Pete Prisco, Jason LaCanfora

[b]AGE:[/b] 49

[b]CURRENT JOB:[/b] Vice President of Player Personnel, Arizona Cardinals (2012)

[b][u]HISTORY[/u][/b]

Director of Player Personnel, Arizona Cardinals (2008-2011)
Director of College Scouting, Arizona Cardinals (2006-2007)
Regional Scout, Arizona Cardinals (1999-2006)

[b][u]EXPERIENCE[/u][/b]

Talent Evaluation: 14 Years
Talent Acquisition: 5 Years
Roster/Cap Management: None

[b][u]PANTHER CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

TE Coach Pete Hoener was with the Cardinals for three of the years when Keim was a scout. Just missed being with the Dolphins under Don Shula - father of QB Coach Mike Shula - who retired in 1995. Graduate of NC State where he played guard and was a teammate of wide receiver Torry Holt. Later returned to NC State as a coach (Strength and Conditioning). For a time lived in North Carolina even though he was working for the Cardinals in Arizona.

Has some interesting indirect connections via Cardinals GM Rod Graves. Graves was the Director of Player Personnel for the Bears during Ron Rivera's entire Bears playing career as well as Mike Shula's time there as TE coach. Perhaps most interesting though? In 1983, Graves was a player on the USFL's Philadelphia Stars, and as such a teammate to a young linebacker by the name of Sam Mills (whose son is still on staff here).

[b][u]ACCORSI CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

None that I can find

[b]PRIOR INTERVIEWS: [/b]Rams

[b][u]ODDS AND ENDS[/u][/b]

Was briefly with the Dolphins (went to camp as a street free agent). Spent a season in the CFL.

[b][u]ANALYSIS[/u][/b]

I know the first reaction people will have when they look at Keim. "A guy from the [i]Cardinals[/i]? No way!"

If that's how you feel, let me make a suggestion. Read the articles, focusing specifically on his words. That or just watch the video interview linked below.

Keim comes across as an extremely smart guy, and the Cardinals have been more successful as a team since promoting him to higher positions. He's been legitimately considered as a hit GM candidate before, and I'd say even with the Cardinals recent issues, still ought to be.

Naturally, the Cardinals recent struggles could be a bit of a red flag. And of course he has no direct association with Ernie Accorsi, though Accorsi was said to be doing his due dilligence looking into him. Also like others, he has no real experience with cap management, something that the Panthers will be needing a lot of in the next few years.

All that said, he definitely seems to be a guy who isn't afraid of hard work. He worked his way into an NFL tryout despite not having the measurables many teams look for. Add in that Keim has some local history here and seems to like the state (you'd have to in order to live here while working in Arizona). And of course, the fact that he's a former offensive lineman works for me. We'd definitely have one of the tougher GMs in the league.

So yeah, at first I was dismissive of the idea too. But take a closer look at him and you might find a lot to like. Still might not be your first choice (not mine) but a definite guy to consider as a dark horse.

[b][u]QUOTABLE[/u][/b]

"I think there are three things that make a great personnel man: your eye to evaluate talent, your organizational skills and your conviction. If you're talking to a GM or a head coach about a player they don't know, and you don't come full tilt with strong conviction, how can they believe in you?

[i]- Steve Keim[/i]

[b]TEAM BIO:[/b] [url="http://www.azcardinals.com/team/staff/steve-keim/67a6f19d-011a-4d2a-a8c6-fd9614366f27"]Cardinals.com[/url]

[b]TEAM DRAFT HISTORY: [/b][url="http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=3800&type=team"]NFL.com[/url]

[b][u]FURTHER READING[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.azcentral.com/sports/cardinals/articles/2012/05/05/20120505arizona-cardinals-steve-keim-cleaning-up-scouting-image.html"]Steve Keim helps Cardinals clean up scouting image[/url]
[url="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ms-stevekeim012709"]Draft success helps build Cards into a winner[/url]
[url="http://stlouis.sbnation.com/st-louis-rams/2012/1/6/2687424/rams-general-manager-search-cardinals-steve-keim-targeted-baltimores"]Cardinals Steve Keim targeted in Rams GM search[/url]

[b][u]VIDEO[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.azcardinals.com/videos-photos/videos/Sitdown-with-Steve-Keim/e979c120-8b16-11de-8e35-0ee8612ec13e"]Sitdown with Steve Keim prior to 2009 NFL Draft[/url]


[size=5][b]UPDATE: [/b][/size]Has been officially named new GM of the Cardinals.

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[size=7][i][b]Eric DeCosta[/b][/i][/size]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v155/misterscot/GMs/EricDeCosta-2.jpg[/img]

[b]MENTIONED[/b][b] BY: [/b]Mike Florio

[b]AGE:[/b] 41

[b]CURRENT JOB:[/b] Assistant General Manager, Baltimore Ravens (2012)

[b][u]HISTORY[/u][/b]

Director of Player Personnel, Baltimore Ravens (2009-2011)
Director of College Scouting, Baltimore Ravens (2003-2008)
Midwest Area Scout, Baltimore Ravens (1998-2002)

[b][u]EXPERIENCE[/u][/b]

Talent Evaluation: 15 Years
Talent Acquisition: 4 Years
Roster/Cap Management: 1 Year

[b][u]PANTHER CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Offensive Line Coach John Matsko was on the Ravens staff from 2008 to 2010. Just missed working with RB Coach John Settle who left Baltimore in 1997. Assistant OL Coach Ray Brown was playing for the Redskins when DeCosta interned there in 1995. No local ties. He's pretty much spent his entire life in the Northeast.

[b][u]ACCORSI CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

When Accorsi was Executive VP/GM in Cleveland, he worked with an up and coming front office executive by the name of Ozzie Newsome. Newsome has been with the Ravens during DeCosta's entire tenure and now is widely said to considers him his hier apparent.

[b]PRIOR INTERVIEWS: [/b]Offered interviews by the Rams, Colts, Bears and Raiders. Declined them all.[b] [/b]

[b][u]ODDS AND ENDS[/u][/b]

The Sporting News called him one of the top young stars in sports management in 2005. Admitted in an interview that he reads draft previews and looks at mock drafts.

[b][u]ANALYSIS[/u][/b]

If you wanted to name one guy as "Best Candidate", it'd likely be DeCosta.

He's consistently been praised for his work as an evaluator. Not necessarily surprising given that he's worked many years under a man considered one of the best talent evaluators in the league, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome. That said, up until this year DeCosta didn't really work much with the cap, so he's limited there. That hasn't scared anyone off, though. He's definitely been in demand by teams looking for a GM.

The big issue, though? Look down the resume’ and you’ll notice a bit of a trend.

The Ravens are the only team DeCosta has worked for in an official position (he interned with the Redskins in 1995) and there are pretty good indicators they might be the only team he cares to work for as well. Last offseason, three different teams asked for permission to interview DeCosta for GM openings. DeCosta declined all of them. There’s also speculation that the Ravens 2012 raise / change in title was essentially meant to reassure DeCosta that he was Ozzie Newsome’s heir apparent.

He may indeed be the best option, but he's also the least likely to take the job. Only one reporter (Florio) has even mentioned him as a possibility.

The one outside shot? Accorsi is a "grandfather" of sorts, having worked with Newsome, who then worked with DeCosta. Honestly, that's not much, but it's there.

[b][u]QUOTABLE[/u][/b]

“He considers the Ravens GM position his future dream job…”

[i] - Don Banks, Sports Illustrated[/i]

[b]TEAM BIO:[/b] [url="http://www.baltimoreravens.com/team/staff/Eric-DeCosta/f9720ac4-2e1d-4155-85df-d8f1ba782a54"]Ravens.com[/url]

[b]TEAM DRAFT HISTORY: [/b][url="http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=0325&type=team"]NFL.com[/url]

[b][u]FURTHER READING[/u][/b]

[url="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/nfl/01/04/decosta.in.demand/index.html"]Four teams wooing DeCosta as GM[/url]
[url="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/nfl/01/06/decosta-ravens/index.html"]Ravens DeCosta spruns GM interviews to remain with club[/url]
[url="http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7432557/baltimore-ravens-eric-decosta-seek-gm-jobs-elsewhere"]Ravens Eric DeCosta staying[/url]

[b][u]VIDEO[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKciH58g2ls"]Eric DeCosta One on One[/url]

[size=5][b]UPDATE: [/b][/size]To no one's surprise, DeCosta has officially stated he will decline all interviews for other GM jobs and stay in Baltimore. He's off the list, if you can say he was ever really on.

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[size=7][i][b]Tom Gamble [/b][/i][/size]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v155/misterscot/GMs/TomGamble.jpg[/img]

[b]MENTIONED[/b][b] BY: [/b]Adam Caplan

[b]AGE:[/b] 48

[b]CURRENT JOB:[/b] Director of Player Personnel, San Francisco 49ers (2011-2012)

[b][u]HISTORY[/u][/b]

Director of Pro Personnel, San Francisco 49ers (2004-2010)
College Scout, Indianapolis Colts (1998-2004)
Pro Scout, Baltimore Ravens (1997)
Part Time Scout, Carolina Panthers (1996)
Defensive Quality Control Coach, New York Jets (1995-1996)
College Scouting Administrator, Area Scout, Contract Negotiator, Director of Pro Scouting, Philadelphia Eagles (1988-1994)

[b][u]EXPERIENCE[/u][/b]

Talent Evaluation: 24 Years
Talent Acquisition: 9 Years
Roster/Cap Management: At least 1 Year

[b][u]PANTHER CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Worked briefly for the Panthers in 1996 under then GM Bill Polian (followed Polian to Indy). Has worked with three current Panther coaches and one former (Ron Meeks during his Colts days). His most extensive experience would be with TE Coach Pete Hoener who was on the 49ers staff for six years of Gamble's tenure. Ray Brown was also in Sf for one of those years. RB Coach John Settle was on the Ravens staff the year Gamble was a scout there.

[b][u]ACCORSI CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Non that I've found.

[b]PRIOR INTERVIEWS: [/b]Rams, was said to be a candidate for the Raiders job that Reggie McKenzie got but haven't seen confirmation that he was interviewed

[b][u]ODDS AND ENDS[/u][/b]

The only candidate in the group who has also coached at the pro level (albeit briefly). Father Harry Gamble was a college coach, pro coach, and an executive with the Philadelphia Eagles in the late 90s. Rumored to be the leading candidate for the Jaguars GM job. Also rumored as a possibility for the Browns job.

[b][u]ANALYSIS[/u][/b]

Hard to find a resume' more well-rounded than this one. Gamble's pretty much done it all. Granted, his contract negotiation duties may not have lasted long (his bio isn't very thorough for his Eagle years) but at least he's done it. His work with the 49ers has been solid, and he's gotten plenty of talk as a future GM, including some very high praise from Bill Polian.

Ah, but that brings up a bit of an issue.

Gamble has no direct association with Ernie Accorsi that I've found. He does, however, have some rather strong ties to one person - possibly two people - who might not exactly be the biggest fans of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. Gamble worked extensively with Bill Polian, and followed him to Indianapolis when he left. That parting was a bit of an ugly one. Who knows what Gamble saw of it, or what he's been told by Polian?

The other [i]possible[/i] detractor? Jim Harbaugh. There was back and forth over whether Harbaugh was a candidate for the Panthers head coaching job that ultimately went to Ron Rivera. It's a popular conspiracy theory that the Panthers lowballed Harbaugh. True? No one knows. But if it is, strike two.

Bottom Line: Gamble certainly sounds like a very viable candidate, but if his opinions of the organization have been formed from people whose experiences here were somewhat less than pleasant, will he even be interested? You know the old saying. "It's not personal. It's business." But sometimes it [i]is[/i] personal. And that's where the questions lie. Is it or isn't it?

[b][u]QUOTABLE[/u][/b]

"He’s got a complete grounding in the game. He grew up in the game, This is exceedingly important when you consider there are a lot of issues that you have to deal with when becoming a general manager that will come up with a team. You’re at a big disadvantage if you don’t have this experience in dealing with everything. That’s why non-football people have a harder time succeeding. Because Tom has so much experience and grew up around the game with his dad, he’s going to be more prepared than most. That’s a huge advantage.”

[i]- Bill Polian, ESPN Analyst, Former General Manager, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts[/i]

[b]TEAM BIO:[/b] [url="http://www.49ers.com/team/staff/tom-gamble/17f5afbb-6679-4250-bc18-6bfb470bb433"]49ers.com[/url]

[b]TEAM DRAFT HISTORY: [/b][url="http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=4500&type=team"]NFL.com[/url]

[b][u]FURTHER READING[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.thesidelineview.com/columns/caplans-nfl-corner/updated-next-nfl-general-managers"]The next NFL General Managers[/url]
[url="http://sfo.scout.com/2/1045906.html"]49ers name Gamble Personnel Chief[/url]
[url="http://articles.philly.com/2012-01-21/sports/30650852_1_braman-eagles-owner-jeffrey-lurie-david-akers"]Former Eagles assistant finds success with 49ers[/url]

[b][u]VIDEO[/u][/b]

(none found)


[size=5][b]UPDATE:[/b][/size] Despite the report that we were checking him out, never materialized as an actual candidate.

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[i][b][size=7]Joey Clinkscales [/size][/b][/i]

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v155/misterscot/GMs/JoeyClinkscales.jpg[/img]

[b]MENTIONED BY: [/b]Adam Schefter

[b]AGE:[/b] 48

[b]CURRENT JOB:[/b] Director of Player Personnel, Oakland Raiders (2012)

[b][u]HISTORY[/u][/b]

Vice President of College Scouting, New York Jets (2008-2011)
Director of College Scouting, New York Jets (2006-2007)
College Scout, New York Jets (1994-2005)

[b][u]EXPERIENCE[/u][/b]

Talent Evaluation: 18 Years
Talent Acquisition: 1 Year
Roster/Cap Management: None

[b][u]PANTHER CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

Panther QB Coach Mike Shula was an offensive assistant with the Bucs when they signed Clinkscales as a wide receiver. Quite possible they may have worked together directly.

[b][u]ACCORSI CONNECTIONS[/u][/b]

None that I've found.

[b]PRIOR INTERVIEWS: [/b]Rams

[b][u]ODDS AND ENDS[/u][/b]

The only guy on the list who actually [i]played[/i] in the NFL for any significant time (Steve Keim went to training camp with the Dolphins). He spent two years playing wide receiver with the Steelers and Buccaneers. Looking at his pics these days, he's be an [i]extremely [/i]wide receiver. He looks more like an offensive lineman. Born in Asheville NC.

[b][u]ANALYSIS[/u][/b]

Clinkscales is a guy who was moving up the ladder with the Jets in the last few years before bolting to the Raiders. Given the utter mess that Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum have made there, that might be a wise move. Still, if you're leaving because the team is a mess, joining the Raiders isn't exactly a huge upgrade.

As far as his history, it's tough to find much on it, but from what I have found he's considered to be a pretty smart guy and a decent evaluator. His video and print interviews certainly make him sound like he's a very intelligent guy and a true "football" guy. It was actually former Steelers GM Tom Donahoe who first noticed his intelligence and suggested he get into scouting once his playing days were over.

There's also this. Coming into college, he was actually a quarterback but due to a glut at the position at his school (Tennessee) he changed positions to wide receiver. That perspective could be interesting given that he'd be working with an athletic quarterback in Cam Newton.

Downside? One thing I've learned researching him is that he and Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie go way, way, [b][i]way [/i][/b]back. They were teammates in college and even in high school and were in each other's weddings. Clinkscales left the Jets after 17 years of service there to work with McKenzie. Given that bond, I have to wonder how likely it would really be that he could be pried away from trying to help his close friend fix the mess that is the Oakland Raiders.

[b][u]QUOTABLE[/u][/b]

"My job is a talent evaluator. I understand where the connection comes in, to be honest with you. Reggie and I have played high school and college ball together. We were in each other's weddings. I've known Reggie forever. But this is where I started and this is where I plan on being."

[i]- Joey Clinkscales, shortly before leaving for the Raiders[/i]

[b]TEAM BIO:[/b] Not available

[b]TEAM DRAFT HISTORY (JETS): [/b][url="http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=3430&type=team"]NFL.com[/url]

[b][u]FURTHER READING[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.examiner.com/article/raiders-dir-of-player-personnel-joey-clinkscales-discusses-draft-team-past"]Raiders Dir. of Player Personnel Joey Clinkscales discusses draft, team & past[/url] (includes audio link)
[url="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d828f4208/article/joey-clinkscales-reportedly-to-join-oakland-raiders-front-office"]Joey Clinkscales reportedly to join Oakland Raiders' front office[/url]
[url="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82672c90/article/rams-to-interview-jets-clinkscales-vikings-paton-for-gm-job"]Rams to interview Jets' Clinkscales[/url]

[b][u]VIDEO[/u][/b]

[url="http://www.newyorkjets.com/photos-and-videos/videos/Jets-Draft-Recap-Joey-Clinkscales/263a99d4-35c5-438a-b41d-50c84290e177"]Jets Draft Recap[/url]


[size=5][b]UPDATE:[/b][/size] Another one who was "checked out" if Schefter was correct, but no apparent attempt made to communicate with him.

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I just hope we get the right guy.

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[b]Marc Ross, Director of College Scouting, New York Giants

Eric DeCosta, Assistant General manager, Baltimore Ravens

Tom Gamble, Director of Player Personnel, San Francisco 49ers[/b]

I really dont want to go any further down that list.

With two of those three you have to wonder if there are any more Harbaugh HC prodigees out there. :D
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I hear the guy from the Raiders is a great talent evaluator. Not sure how that is considering Oakland isn't exactly stacked with talent, but I also doubt he had a significant amount of input in the final decision on who to draft.

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