The Miami Dolphins made headlines today by finally hiring a new general manager.
After the Dolphins secured Philadelphia Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor to be their new offensive coordinator, their attention turned to filling their vacant GM position several weeks ago. Miami submitted their first formal interview request to Tom Gamble, the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel. Gamble’s scientific and analytical approach to scouting and player evaluation has been cited as a key reason for Philadelphia’s quick turnaround this season. Gamble’s data-driven valuation techniques have become a popular attribute in front office candidates as NFL franchises race to adopt advanced metrics as a key component of the player scouting and evaluation process. Gamble ultimately declined Miami’s interview request to stay in Philadelphia close to his father, Harry Gamble, who has fallen ill.
In 2012, the Eagles were a 4-12 team. In 2013, the Eagles were a 10-6 playoff team. Howie Roseman and Tom Gamble deserve credit for fixing one of the league’s most dysfunctional franchises over a 12-month span. Philadelphia’s front office leaders accomplished this by hiring a forward-thinking coaching staff while infusing the roster with younger talent. This foundation guarantees that the team will be a contender for several years to come.
After this amazing turnaround, the Eagles are incredibly fortunate to have their 2013 front office leadership structure still intact. Roseman and Gamble head into next season looking to incrementally improve their established, productive players, as well as replacing a handful of weak position players with impact-athletes. Improving the roster top to bottom starts by further developing franchise building blocks such as Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson, Mychal Kendricks, Brandon Boykin and Fletcher Cox. At the same time, the Eagles will leverage the draft and free agency to replace under-performing players.
Coming off a division championship, the front office will be looking to make nominal, value-based acquisitions, rather than giving the team a face lift. Moreover, most of the Eagles’ weaknesses are in positions such as safety, guard and middle linebacker that are not often drafted in the first round. Because the Eagles can obtain best-in-class players at these positions on day two and day 3 of the NFL Draft, it would be reasonable to assume that the Eagles are entertaining offers to move out of the first round. Trading down would allow the team to leverage its analytical player evaluation techniques to stockpile additional assets in hopes of hitting a home run in the middle to late rounds, as they recently did with Foles and Boykin.