Who’s On The GM Hot Seat?
Following a frantic few months, studying game tape, collating scouting reports and delving deep into a prospect’s background. The search for that franchise changing prospect is drawing to a close. Amid a smoke screen of white lies, the decision makers don their respective poker faces. All in a bid to conceal the strategy formulated via a toxic mix of caffeine and sleep deprivation.
They say that information is power however, as we know with power comes great responsibility. A fact that all 32 general managers are all too familiar with. The decisions over the course of the 2017 draft, will not only impact the fortunes of the franchise going forward but also the employment status of the men behind the moves.
With glaring failings in drafts gone by a select few know that they can ill afford another lackluster injection of what they believe to be talent. Let’s take a look at those general managers on the hot seat.
Doug Whaley: Buffalo Bills
Words escape me when it comes to Whaley’s level of incompetence within the draft process. Last year’s draft class produced 31 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 4.5 sacks, 96 yards passing, 1 interception and 93 yards rushing. Granted the first 2 picks missed time. Shaq Lawson didn’t play until week seven (Shoulder), and Reggie Ragland missed his entire rookie campaign (torn ACL). Talking of injuries, that curse has somewhat hampered Whaley’s best selection to date, Sammy Watkins. Since 2014 Watkins has played in 37 of a potential 48 games.
Then there’s the selection of quarterback EJ Manuel. Drafted a year before Watkins, Manuel has played in just 29 games (17 starts), contributing 3502 yards passing along with 19 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Add to mix the Tyrod Taylor situation and it’s understandable why Bills fans vent their frustration towards Whaley.
Mickey Loomis: New Orleans Saints
During the course of the last three seasons, the Saints defense has ranked within the bottom five of the NFL (31st, 31st, 27th). The numerous failings in free agency (Brandon Browner, Jairus Byrd and C.J. Spiller) have left the Saints with minimal maneuverability in terms of cap space over the years. This coincides with the team going 7-9 in four of the last five seasons.
Entering this year’s draft, the Saints have five picks within the first three rounds (11th, 32nd, 42nd,76th and 103rd). With an abundance of defensive talent available, Loomis and co know the pressure is on if they aim to compete in 2017.
David Caldwell: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags have become the Dolphins when it comes to winning free agency. As the Dolphins will attest to, winning in March doesn’t exactly translate to winning during September and beyond. Since Caldwell’s appointment, the Jags have gone 15-49! The talent on offense was held prisoner by a faltering Blake Bortles in 2016.
Another astonishing fact, is that the Jaguars haven’t had a draft selection outside of the first five picks, for the last four drafts ( Luke Joeckel, Blake Bortles, Dante Fowler). Whilst Jalen Ramsey flashed huge potential at times, the other selections have made little to no impact.
Ryan Pace: Chicago Bears
Bears fans have become accustomed to seeing talented players leave for pasture via in free agency. It’s one of the many downsides we accept as fans. The pain is eased somewhat when you address the balance, a notion that seems somewhat lost on Ryan Pace. During Pace’s tenure at Chicago, the team have gone 9-23.
The signing of unproven quarterback Mike Glennon (3-year $45m) along with wideouts Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright does little to elevate the mounting pressure. Pace’s first draft selection (2015) Kevin White has started in 4 of 32 possible games due to injuries (shin, Fibula).