Every year, the top decision makers for each of the NFL franchises determine which college players are worthy of being selected during the NFL Draft. Below, you’ll find the individuals who are charged with making the key decisions come draft day:
Baltimore Ravens: Ozzie Newsome, general manager
Newsome was the architect of the 2000 team that went to the Super Bowl. A case could possibly be made for team owner Steve Bisciotti, but Newsome gets the nod here.
Buffalo Bills: Tom Modrak, assistant general manager
Former head of football operations for the Philadelphia Eagles, Modrak is by and large the head honcho of the draft just by qualifications alone.
Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Brown, owner and president
Despite the team’s shoestring scouting operation, the Bengals somehow managed to nab Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer, and Brown played no small part in making that happen. Now if they can just quit drafting troublemakers, i.e. Chris Henry.
Cleveland Browns: Phil Savage, general manager
His stock is on the rise as the Browns are methodically becoming one of the better NFL teams. astute picks have made Savage become a model for which other teams will eventually pattern themselves after. Think 2005 – Savage picked Braylon Edwards.
Denver Broncos: Mike Shanahan, head coach and vice president of football operations
Shanny’s strong suit is the innate ability to find “diamond-in-the-rough” running backs who manage to succeed in Denver’s offensive system. Good examples – Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Mike Anderson. This year should be especially challenging for Shanahan.
Houston Texans: Gary Kubiak, head coach
The Texans are slowly improving as a franchise and Kubiak is a big reason why as he and general manager Rick Smith separate the wheat from the chaff on draft day.
Indianapolis Colts: Bill Polian, president
You don’t become a 5-time NFL Executive of the Year by being lucky come draft time. Polian has done it in Buffalo and Carolina, so it’s not like he’s an unknown entity. Expect him to work more draft day magic again for the Colts. Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf? You’re welcome.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jack Del Rio, head coach and James Harris, general manager and vice president for player personnel
They are a team – in name only, as I suspect that Del Rio makes the calls here more than Harris does. It must suck for Harris to be a figurehead.
Kansas City Chiefs: Carl Peterson, president and general manager
In charge since he was hired back in 1988, Peterson shouldn’t be too proud or stubborn to get some competent help in assisting him with the draft. The past few drafts beg for him to get a HELP WANTED posting at the Chiefs’ watercooler.
Miami Dolphins: Bill Parcells, VP of football operations
This is Parcells’ first big decision as head honcho of the draft: who does he take with the 1st overall pick? Fleecing Dallas was easy, but the draft is the Rubik’s cube. Who Parcells selects may determine how astute a judge of talent that he is.
New England Patriots: Bill Belichick, head coach
Granted, you cannot argue with the Patriots’ results on the football field, BUT it may help the team if Belichick would let team vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli provide more input.
New York Jets: Eric Mangini, head coach
The Jets should have an interesting draft as they have several needs to address. Mangini’s draft record seems mediocre, at best, and he may want to step it up this time around. 2 words for you Mangini: Darren McFadden.
Oakland Raiders: Al Davis, general manager partner
What? You didn’t think Lane Kiffin provided insight, did you? Unless you consider that Kiffin will be serving the coffee and donuts at the war room as valuable input. It has always been Davis’ show and will continue to be Davis’ show. I wonder if and when Davis passes away, will they do seances during future Raiders’ drafts?
Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin Colbert, director of football operations/Mike Tomlin, head coach
If it isn’t broken, leave it alone. The Steelers shouldn’t have any problems securing good talent this draft.
San Diego Chargers: A.J. Smith, general manager
Another astute judge of college talent, Smith has built the Chargers from the ground up with savvy drafting and smart trades.
Tennessee Titans: Jeff Fisher, head coach and executive vice president
This has to be a challenging year for Fisher as salary cap issues dog him and that should make drafting good talent even more challenging than usual. Not to mention figuring out what to do with Pacman Jones.
Arizona Cardinals: Rod Graves, vice president of football operations
After the initial growing pains, Graves seems to be improving with each and every draft. Not to mention that he managed to retain Larry Fitzgerald, which is the linchpin for the Cards’ future success. Boldin’s the man, but Fitzgerald is key here.
Atlanta Falcons: Tom Dimitroff, general manager
Hired back in January, Dimitroff has his hands full and will need to tap into his wealth of knowledge to make the Falcons relevant again in the NFL; he is in charge of all of the major decisions (draft, personnel, terminations, etc.), so he’s going to earn his money this year, for sure.
Carolina Panthers: John Fox, head coach/Marty Hurney, general manager
Both run ths hip, but Hurney is the undisputed captain of this ship as he brought Fox aboard back in 2002 as the head coach of the Panthers. This could be the make-or-break year for Hurney and Fox on draft day.
Chicago Bears: Jerry Angelo, general manager
Has helped the Bears win 3 division titles, drafting stars such as Lance Briggs, Tommie Harris and Nathan Vasher. With the Bears’ descent last seaqson, this year’s draft will prove to be important if the team expects to revisit the postseason again.
Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones, owner
Draft guru – in his own mind – Jones has pretty much had mixed results. Think of when Jimmy Johnson left in 1993 – the Boys’ draft success hasn’t been quite the same. If you don’t take Darren McFadden, I can think of several teams who would be more than happy to have him.
Detroit Lions: Matt Millen, president
The king of draft busts, Millen is hoping to reverse that trend. He did get Calvin Johnson as the Lions these days seem enamored with drafting offensive players early. As a result, their defense has suffered. With Millen drafting for the Lions, it gives hope to all of us fantasy owners.
Green Bay Packers: Ted Thompson, vice president of football operations and general manager
Respected around the league, Thompson has done his team renovations with some smart drafting and a lot of wheeling and dealing during draft weekend. Expect more of the same from Thompson during this year’s draft.
Minnesota Vikings: Brad Childress, head coach
Mixed results at this point. Childress’ claim to fame so far is drafting Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice. So we at least know that Childress knows offense.
New Orleans Saints: Sean Payton, head coach
Most knowledgeable NFL fans will acknowledge that Payton is an offensive star. Marques Colston and Reggie Bush are good building blocks, but Payton needs to for a change key their draft plans on getting some core defensive players early.
New York Giants: Jerry Reese, general manager
Reese is obviously doing something right as the Giants won last season’s Super Bowl. Not to mention that they drafted players such as Aaron Ross, Ahmad Bradshaw and Kevin Boss. This year should be interesting as the Giants draft late in the 1st round.
Philadelphia Eagles: Andy Reid, head coach and vice president of football operations
Reid will earn his money this draft as they have several needs to fulfill. But knowing Reid, he’ll be more focused than usual; I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles try to move up the draft charts and get an earlier pick.
St. Louis Rams: Bill Devaney, VP of player personnel
Hired in February, Devaney has the unenviable task of rebuilding the Rams’ offense and especially the offensive line. Too bad that Jake Long won’t be available to them come draft day.
San Francisco 49ers: Scot McCloghan, general manager
You thought that Devaney’s job was tougher? It pales in comparison to what McCloghan has to deal with this draft. They need playmakers, especially at wide receiver. They also need to get some immediate improvement from quarterback Alex Smith. One can only hope that John York, the 49ers owner, decides not to pretend that he is Al Davis and meddle.
Seattle Seahawks: Tim Ruskell, general manager
As competent as they come, Ruskell can take credit for keeping Lofa Tatupu long-term. He was also responsible for the drafting of Chris Spencer and Leroy Hill, so we at least know he ahs a good track record.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bruce Allen, general manager
Allen’s record is a mixed bag; while the Buccaneers’ defense has by and large been pretty decent, they have been sorely lacking on offense, due to bad luck and injuries. Perhaps Allencan redeem himself by getting some offensive playmakers this draft.
Washington Redskins: Dan Snyder, owner
This is a classic example of what happens when you try to buy yourself a championship – you lose all those precious draft picks, which are the true mettle of a successful franchise. Do yourself a favor, Dan – let Vinny Cerrato run the draft, accumulate some draft picks, and perhaps most importantly, quit being Richie Rich and run the risk of possibly running your franchise into the ground.