Know Your Chicago Bears GM Prospects

Out with the old, and in with the... who? Lots of names have already started to circulate on who the Bears might pick as their new general manager. For all the ink that gets spilled about potential draft picks and future free agents, however, there is surprisingly little written about the people who draft and sign them. Follow me below the fold to get scouting reports on the guy who will be reading all the rest of those scouting reports come draft day. Onwards!

Without further ado, here they are. Click the name to read the most official biography available for each prospective GM.

Reggie McKenzie

Current Job: Director of Football Operations, Green Bay Packers

Draft History: 1997-2011, here.

On the interview list already? Yes.

This would be my top pick as Jerry's replacement. I won't profane this Bears' blog by listing off the many (unfortunately) talented players that Green Bay has drafted over the years, but, as Phillips and McCaskey put it so succinctly yesterday, there is a pretty big talent gap between us and the Packers. He is the future GM most likely to be okay with having Lovie Smith as his head coach, as the two are apparently already friends. This could also be a bad thing, however, as it might be hard for him if it comes time to put his friend into unemployment down the line. He clearly has a mind for football - he played in the NFL for seven years as a linebacker and his bio claims he works with the coaches to evaluate the Packers' opponents during the season - and obviously has an eye for talent. He is interviewing in Oakland today, however, so the Bears will need to act fast before Al Davis' ghost offers him a huge payday. Chicago does have the edge, as McKenzie has already stated he wants to be close to his daughter, who is currently attending Wheaton College in the Chicago suburbs. While the Packers have had their share of offensive line woes recently, McKenzie has put together a solid team largely through the draft and could help do the same thing here. Also, for those of you worried that the Packers might try to block his hire like they did when we tried to steal away their offensive coordinator*, teams can only block other teams from interviewing their staff if they are up for the same job: as McKenzie would be getting a promotion here in Chicago, the Packers couldn't do much more than ask nicely that we not steal their talent evaluator.

*Or was is their QB coach? I can't remember which right now.

Bill Polian

Current Job: Watching Oprah re-runs

Most Recent Job: Vice-Chairman, Indianapolis Colts

Draft History: Buffalo Bills (1984-92) here, Carolina Panthers (1994-97) here, Indianapolis Colts (1998-present) here

Confirmed his interest in job to the McCaskeys, according to ESPN.

Bill Polian has a resume suspiciously similar to Jerry Angelo's: he's got Super Bowl rings, sure, but also has been on the decline more recently. After putting together a team that appeared in four straight Super Bowls up in Buffalo, he was fired due to personality differences and headed over to the Panthers, where he got the expansion team into the NFCC in its second year as a franchise. At Indy, he made Payton Manning his first draft pick and went downhill from there. While he found a decent share of talent over the years, the Colts' most recent season showed just how much that team rode on the play of Polian's first draft pick 14 years after the fact. He found some good receivers in the lower rounds of last few drafts, but this season also showed that those receivers weren't quite so great when Curtis Painter was throwing to them. I'm afraid that with Polian's long history of putting together winning franchises, Phillips will ignore that Polian has had an Angelo-esque last couple of drafts and go with him as a "safe/proven veteran" pick. Also, Polian seems like the kind of GM who would want more power than the Bears would be willing to give him, so perhaps that will work against him. My read is that Polian has fallen off in recent years and would pick players more likely to turn out as Curtis Painters, not Payton Mannings. On the other hand, he has made very shrewd draft picks in his first couple of years in each franchise he has headed up - most impressively, five of his first six first-round picks in Indy ended up becoming Pro Bowl players. He wouldn't be my first choice, but perhaps he would be a good guy to bring in on a short-term deal to help get Urlacher and Briggs their Super Bowl rings before it's too late.

Les Snead

Current Job: Director of Player Personnel, Atlanta Falcons

Draft history with Atlanta: 2009-2011, here

Listed as a potential interviewee by Jason La Canfora of NFLN.

A former scout who worked his way up the ladder, Snead would be a good fit in the GM position as Ted Phillips imagines it. Also, I do like that he was a football player up through college - he played TE at Auburn for two years - although he never made it pro. That said, he missed on his first pick, which is doubly worrisome, as he missed on a DT (Peria Jerry) picked right around (22nd overall) where the Bears will be this draft. His history of drafting offensive linesmen is equally as iffy, although it's hard to grade him out with such a short draft history as Director. He did hit it big with Julio Jones, but it's not too hard to find good-to-great talent with the sixth overall pick. His work as a talent evaluator before then looks to be solid, however, as the Falcons rebuilt their team very quickly after the abrupt end to the Mike Vick era. He does show promise and is under 40, which would put the Bears in a great position to have the GM position locked down for a long time if he works out. I'm not all that impressed, however: while he is a promising young candidate, I would rather find someone with a few more drafts under his belt to run the show.

Eric DeCosta

Current Job: Director of Pro Personnel, Baltimore Ravens

Draft history with Ravens: 2009-2011 here

Also mentioned as a potential interviewee by Jason La Canfora of NFLN

DeCosta has been with the Ravens since the birth of the franchise, but with GM Ozzie Newsome not looking to get fired any time soon, would he be willing to leave Baltimore to get his shot at the big chair? DeCosta is a perfect fit for the job, as he worked his way up to the #2 personnel position after starting out as an area scout for the Ravens. I won't bore you by listing the many blue-chip players that the Ravens have picked up through the draft over the years, but the one concern I have with DeCosta is his drafts as Director. After the Ravens struck gold in 2008 (when DeCosta was still the head scout) by getting Joe Flacco and Ray Rice with their first two picks, the biggest splash the Ravens have made on draft day since was getting Michael Oher. Then again, with the solid roster they have in place, there isn't a whole lot of room for younger players to make a big name for themselves. Like Snead, his resume is a bit short, but despite his recent draft mediocrity, you've got to like a guy who has a proven history of getting in right as far as evaluating both offensive and defensive players in the early rounds and who comes from a franchise that wins by playing its draft picks. It might take a big pile of McCaskey cash to lure him away from the only team he has ever been with, but, based on his resume, he would be a fine choice.

Sheldon White

Current Job: VP of Pro Personnel, Detroit Lions

Draft History with Lions: here

Mentioned as a "strong GM candidate within the division" by the Chicago Sun Times

Sheldon White has been with Detroit for quite some time - he bears the taint of Mr. 0-16 Matt Millen, but survived the house-cleaning following that disaster of a season. His background fits perfectly with what the Bears are looking for, as White started as scout for the Lions in the late 90s and has moved his way up from there. Before that, he was an NFL defensive back for six years, from 1988-93, and was a wide receivers coach at Miami of Ohio for a couple of years. Maybe he could pull double duties and replace Drake as well as Angelo? In any case, over at least the last couple of seasons, Detroit has done pretty well in the draft - their last five first round picks were Javhid Best, Ndamukong Suh, Matthew Stafford, Gosder Cherilus, and Calvin Johnson. The bad news is that out of those last five picks, the one Detroit really missed on was Cherilus, an OT. The other bad news is White wouldn't have lots of really high first-round picks to work with, unless the Bears really take a nose dive in the near future. He does, however, have experience in dealing with the paperwork side of things as well as the scouting - he currently is responsible for writing the contracts for all but the first-round picks in Detroit. All and all, not a bad prospect, but outside of his home runs in the top of the first round, many of the players he has drafted have either not done that much or fallen victim to Chris Williams Syndrome and underperformed because of injury. That, and hiring anyone who used to work for Matt Millen's front office reeks of a bad idea. White is the Mike Martz of the Bears' GM Sweepstakes, the guy who we might have to settle for if Polian doesn't bite and McKinzie ends up in Oakland. At least Phillips will have to courtesy to make it seem like White was his first choice all along.

Ted Sundquist

Current Job: None

Last Seen: Broncos GM, 2002-07

Draft history: 2002-07, here

The Chicago Tribune confirmed the Bears' interest in him.

Ted Sundquist, like many of the other GMs on the list, started out as a player and then an assistant coach. In his case, he played for Air Force in college, and, with the NFL not really an option, worked as an assistant head coach for Air Force after his tour was over. He also coached high school for two years before getting a job as an area scout for the Broncos. He moved pretty quickly through the ranks, becoming director of scouting after only two years with Denver. Once he finally got the promotion to the GM position after 2002, his drafting progressively improved over the years - most impressively, he managed to draft six* three future Pro Bowlers with his seven picks in 2006, including a certain Jay Cutler in the first round. He also had good luck with his offensive line picks, finding his starting center and right guard in the fifth rounds, but also sort of missed on a first-round pick on a right tackle. He is also known as a wheel-and-dealer, which means he would be able to match Jerry Angelo's skills in free-agent acquisition. The more I read about Sundquist, the more I like him, but having been out of the league since 2007, is his still "game" ready? Still, I think the Bears would be wise to keep him on their short list if only because of his success finding starting-grade offensive linesmen in the later rounds of the draft.

*I shouldn't edit articles after 9PM, as I will explain in the comments

Tim Ruskell

Current Job: Lackey for former GM Jerry Angelo

Draft history: here (a very nice write-up of it)

No. No! Really, Ted: no means no. He has already been ruled out as a potential GM, thank Halas, although I can't find the link to where I read that right now. I'll give my whole year's WCG salary to the person who could post a link confirming that in the comments.

Now that you know - and knowing is half the battle - vote on who you would like to see smirking from the sideline next season when the Bears take back the division in 2012.

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