Not You, Jerry: Power Ranking the Top 15 General Managers for the 2013 NFL Season
Not You, Jerry: Power Ranking the Top 15 General Managers for the 2013 NFL Season
It's football season, folks. After a long, eventful offseason the NFL regular season is right around the corner. Teams have begun their preseason schedule and are in the midst of finding out just what guys will wind up filling out the remaining spots on those rosters.
Over the spring and summer, we saw plenty of intriguing moves made via free agency and the draft. We saw draft steals, questionably large contracts given out in the offseason, trades that bolstered rosters even further and some all-around excellent signings for many teams.
What we don't know much about is all of the behind-the-scenes work that makes these deals happen. The guys in the front office do so much work to make sure their franchises are in the best shape going forward, and they are sometimes overlooked.
What we do know is that there are several specific general managers who have put their teams in a great place heading into the future. Whether it has been via the draft over the last couple of years or making a big-time signing in free agency, some teams look a lot better than others heading into the 2013 season thanks to those in the office.
As we approach the regular season, I decided to take a look at 15 particular general managers -- some of them de facto -- who are in a great place going into the 2013 campaign and beyond. Here's my power rankings of the top 15 general managers in the NFL.
Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.
15. Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons
As the Atlanta Falcons prepare to finally get over the hump, one sure cannot blame the general manager for his lack of effort. Thomas Dimitroff has put his team into the best scenario yet, adding Osi Umenyiora and Steven Jackson to a cast that includes draft picks like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in recent years. The Falcons are loaded and Dimitroff is an enormous reason why. This year, it's time to finally make him proud.
14. Bruce Allen, Washington Redskins
Bruce Allen made one of the best possible moves in recent memory, moving up last year to acquire quarterback Robert Griffin III in the NFL Draft. Pairing him with a sneaky pick like Alfred Morris on top of signing Pierre Garcon, the Redskins are in a much better place than they were a year ago because of Allen. They no longer have a quarterback controversy going into camp every year because Griffin will be their leader for a long, long time. Hiring Mike Shanahan was also a very nice move to gear their offense in the right direction. Allen has done a great job in Washington as of late.
13. Ryan Grigson, Indianapolis Colts
Has there been a more bold move in the past few years than the releasing of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning? Of course, the Indianapolis Colts knew they were in for a treat when they drafted Andrew Luck. But, to give up the face of the franchise like that and put their faith in a rookie? Bold move, my friend. Ryan Grigson has made himself look like a genius after Luck proved he was worthy of the selection last year. Continuing to add talent around him now will be the key to taking his franchise to the next level.
12. Rick Smith, Houston Texans
The Houston Texans used to be a bottom feeder, a team that nobody gave a second thought. They were the new guys on the block, an expansion team that wouldn't make anything happen for several years to come. That changes dramatically over the past couple of seasons, thanks to general manager Rick Smith and the type of talent he has been able to reel in via the draft and free agency. Arian Foster and J.J. Watt are just two prime examples of the kind of guys he is responsible for drafting. Since he took over in 2006, everything has looked more and more promising for his franchise year after year.
11. Phil Emery, Chicago Bears
Talk about bold moves. Firing your head coach and releasing the face of your franchise in the same offseason is all Phil Emery has done lately in that category. The Chicago Bears are amidst a big change in the organization with coaching and personnel, but Emery has done a fine job in making his team look more and more like a contender. After his big move last year bringing in Brandon Marshall, he helped the Bears bring in a solid draft class in 2013 including two linebackers that could turn out to be starters in the near future. That is music to any Bears fan's ears.
10. Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
Another one of those teams that used to be somewhat laughable and inconsistent has turned into a playoff contender year in and year out recently. Mike Brown has his Cincinnati Bengals in better position than ever heading into 2013. He's responsible for drafting both Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, and now two more young, exciting offensive weapons in Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert. Cincinnati is one of those under-the-radar teams, but that doesn't bother them. Brown has put this team in a great position after using seven picks on offense this year to go with their already-solid defensive unit.
9. Rick Spielman, Minnesota Vikings
This is the one guy that I struggle to place up in the top 10. Rick Spielman has not done what it takes to get the quarterback situation under control with the Minnesota Vikings. Christian Ponder still hasn't proven he was worth reaching for in the first round, and Adrian Peterson is still being ran into the ground. What he has done, though, is draft a lot of talent recently. Last year's draft class was impressive, especially first-rounders Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil. This year, Spielman was able to lock down three first-round picks, something Vikings fans are excited about. 2013 could be another year for the Vikings to surprise and ride Peterson into the playoffs.
8. Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints
Not many teams have had to deal with what the New Orleans Saints did a few years ago. After a natural disaster like Hurrican Katrina, the city was in ruins. But, the people still had their Saints. Drew Brees and company have done a fine job making Mickey Loomis look good after such a horrific tragedy. Loomis has been able to keep his organization running well for the most part, outside of bounty-gate most recently. But, when speaking of talent on the field, Loomis has done his share of good things. Continuing to give Brees weapons is a big part of his job, most recently landing tight end Jimmy Graham in the draft. Loomis is a fine executive and has handled himself well throughout the tougher times on the job.
7. John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks
Where in the world did the Seattle Seahawks come from? That's what everybody was asking themselves over the last couple of seasons. Well, bringing in running back Marshawn Lynch was the first step in creating something great offensively. Drafting Russell Wilson was the next. The Seahawks are a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball, though, thanks to John Schneider. Seattle boasts one of the league's top defensive units and many of the guys have been brought up through the draft -- a sign of a great general manager. Schneider has a lot going for him and his Seahawks in the future, and I can't wait to see what his next move is.
6. Jerry Reese, New York Giants
The New York Giants seem to be that team that you are never too sure about until the time it matters most. Outside of this last season, the Giants have been able to turn it on during the most crucial moments, especially thanks to quarterback Eli Manning. General manager Jerry Reese has done a good job getting the franchise in place, especially this offseason when he was able to make sure wideout Victor Cruz signed his tender. The Giants will always be competitive as long as Reese continues to do his job well. As of late, he hasn't shown many signs of stopping.
5. Trent Baalke, San Francisco 49ers
Kudos to Trent Baalke and his San Francisco 49ers on making a move to draft quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The kid has always had something special about him, and now thanks to an injury to Alex Smith, Baalke looks like a genius. Baalke is responsible also for an incredible defensive unit that's been put together. Many of those guys have been brought on through the draft and you can't say enough good things about the type of players he's put on the field. Heading into 2013, the 49ers are one of the Super Bowl favorites and Baalke is certainly a large reason why.
4. Ozzie Newsome, Baltimore Ravens
It's tough not to put the defending Super Bowl champions in the top-5 of this list, even if they are in the midst of a rough spot due to injuries and key departures. Ozzie Newsome is responsible for a major part of this team, though. Both Joe Flacco and Ray Rice have been recent draft picks to turn out as good as anybody could have hoped for, and the team is coming off of a championship season. It's going to be a little more difficult for the Ravens to repeat this year, but Newsome has done his part in making sure he puts a competitive roster on the field still.
3. Ted Thompson, Green Bay Packers
Ted Thompson has always rubbed me the wrong way. I'm not sure what it is about him, but in any event I have to give the guy credit for the type of talent he has brought in through the draft in recent years. Aaron Rodgers, of course, is the biggest reason for the team's success. But, drafting players like Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb and Tramon Williams are reasons why Thompson is near the top of the list. Rodgers is the man, we know that. But Thompson and his guys have shown that they know how to draft talent. If only they could do that with the offensive line.
2. John Elway, Denver Broncos
Anytime you can bring in arguably the best quarterback in the game, I think it's safe to say you're a pretty good general manager. But, why stop there? How about bringing in the league leader in receptions over the past few years? Still, it can't stop there. Maybe we'll also bring in the all-time touchdowns leader in NCAAF history via the draft this year. Have I made a partly decent case for John Elway being at number two? I could go on, but I think we know he has done a heck of a job with the Broncos lately and they are the Super Bowl favorite in 2013.
1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Love me for this, hate me for this. That's up to you. Let me first say that I have never liked Bill Belichick, and maybe that's the way he wants it. You don't have to like him, but he's going to excel at what he does, and that is coaching an elite football team year after year. Of course, he's not the official general manager, but making a lot of the decisions regarding the organization he is considered to be 'the guy.' Belichick has a way of getting whomever he chooses to put on the field believe in his system, 'The Patriot Way.' He coaches a team, not a bunch of star players or big names. Outside of Tom Brady, there are no true superstars other than maybe Rob Gronkowski when healthy. Belichick demands the utmost out of his players and personnel, and that is why he is atop this list.