It’s a transaction that usually goes unnoticed, but the Arizona Cardinals may have found their guiding Licht.
The Cardinals hired New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht as their new director of player personnel on Wednesday. As nesn.com’s Jeff Howe explained, the move was a promotion for Licht in that he now has the same duties as his former immediate boss Nick Caserio has with the Patriots.
Not only did Licht work twice for the Patriots – from 1999-2003 and from 2009-11, but he also served one year as a personnel assist during Arizona’s 2008 Super Bowl run.
The Cardinals promoted Steve Keim to vice president of player personnel to create the opportunity for Licht.
The nesn.com report explained that Licht evaluated every NFL player to help devise game-day scouting reports as well as determine how each player would fit if he were to become a free agent. Nesn.com also went on to say that Licht compiled a book of every team’s needs before the NFL draft, suggesting it was no coincidence that coach Bill Belichick moved up twice in the draft in the first round and selected defensive end Chandler Jones of Syracuse with the first of its two first-round picks at No. 21.
Arizona was criticized for its lack of activity in the offseason, and Licht’s work in New England suggests he will know whether the Cardinals should chase free agents during any given year.
The only baggage Licht has was his dismissal from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007 after a supposed falling out with the Eagles front office that included then Eagles general manager Tom Heckert. But getting a front-office executive that not only is familiar with the Cardinals but also has eight years’ experience with the best franchise in the league in New England is a pretty good equalizer.
Despite an 8-8 record last year, Arizona didn’t draft for needs at defensive end or linebacker. A bright Licht should help the Cardinals address their personnel needs in the future.