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Get the Inside Scoop on Bears' Top GM Candidates

The Bears have finally decided to pick up the phone and schedule a few interviews after a couple of GM vacancies were already filled and at least two candidates chose options other than the Beloved.

Eight days after general manager Jerry Angelo was fired, the club announced Chiefs college scouting director Phil Emery, Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht, Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye III and Giants college scouting director Marc Ross will interview for the position.

You can read the story by Brad Biggs to get some insight about these candidates but if you want a little more insight, follow the jump where I got a little from some friends, my colleagues at Arrowhead Addict, Bolt Beat, Musket Fire and GMen HQ to get their added insight from the guys who cover the teams.

Phil Emery

Emery has some ties to the Bears, having worked as a scout from ’98 – ’04.   He advocated for the drafting of Rex Grossman if that tells you anything about his keen eye as a college scout.  After a stint with the Falcons, he’s spent the last three years working with Scott Pioli in Kansas City.  To get the inside scoop, we’ve reached out to our buddies at Arrowhead Addict to help get their point of view.

Emery has been around for a long time. He’s been in the NFL for 14 years and has been with the Chiefs for three. He helped the Falcons before that and led up to their 2009 draft which was not very good. Then again, neither was KC’s. It is starting to seem like the 2009 draft was bad for everyone.

Since coming to KC, I would say Emery is doing a great job. KC’s 2010 draft class was very good. The Chiefs have gotten solid contributions from guys like Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas. TE Tony Moeaki and FS Kendrick Lewis look like huge steals. Eric Berry is a stud.

The 2011 draft is also looking good. The Chiefs made solid picks by getting guys like Justin Houston and Allen Bailey late. The class has a lot of potential.

I would say I’m happy with Emery and I hope he stays around. When your team is finding starters and solid depth late in the draft, your scouts are doing a good job.

Jason Licht

Licht has spent a couple of stints with the Patriots and held the position of VP of Player Personnel with the Eagles and was a personnel exec with the Super Bowl Cardinals of 2008.  Most recently he returned to the Patriots, so we reached out to Jamie Pacheo, editor of Musket Fire, for his perspective on Licht.

It’s hard to tell what impact Licht has had with the Patriots because Bill Belichick is so involved with the personnel decisions, and Licht hasn’t had a ton of success in other organizations. He left the Patriots after 2002 and joined the Eagles, but was fired in 2007. He worked 2008 in Arizona with the Cardinals before re-joining the Pats in 2009. Since his return, the Patriots’ drafting has improved after a few years of some really bad drafts. Of course, there are successes and failures in every draft, but some of the notable names acquired since Licht’s return are Patrick Chung, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Devin McCourty, and Nate Solder.

Those draft picks sound decent, eh?  I really like what they’ve done with Gronko and Hernandez and Solder seems to be pretty solid too.  What Jamie points out is what I’ve commonly heard about just about everyone who comes out of New England – it’s all about Belichick.

Jimmy Raye III

Next up is Jimmy Raye III, who is responsible for college and pro scouting for the Chargers.  He’s got a nice resume of draft picks including such notable players and Michael Turner, Shaun Phillips, Shawne Merriman, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles and Marcus McNeil among others.  Not too shabby.  Here’s our old friend Ernie Padaon from Bolt Beat with his two cents on Raye III:

Jimmy Raye took over the personnel director job from Buddy Nix when Nix took the GM job in Buffalo. If you look over the last few drafts that the Chargers have had since Nix has left, you will notice players like Buster Davis, Larry English and Antoine Cason. WHO!? Exactly! Our drafts have been mediocre at best, since he took over the job. It could be our GM, AJ Smith’s, fault or it could be that Jimmy Raye didn’t have the same eye for talent as Buddy Nix.

Thanks for peeing in my Cheerios Ernie.  I was actually getting excited about Raye until I read your paragraph.

Marc Ross

Finally we get to Marc Ross of the New York Giants. Ross came up through the Eagles organization where he was responsible for drafts that brought Brian Westbrook and Lito Sheppard to the Philadelphia while in his last 5 seasons with he’s been the Giants’ director of college scouting and responsible for such draft picks as Jason Pierre-Paul and Hakeem Nicks among others.  Any chance those guys could come with him?  We reached out to GMen HQ staffer Joe Tufaro, who is busily preparing for Giants-Packers this weekend, for his thoughts on Ross:

The Director of College scouting is an extremely importatnt position for an organization like the New York Giants.  The Giants as you may know draft the “best available athlete” and not by position.  Which menas Marc and his staff must evaluate and rank EVERY player in the draft.  For example they will take the time to study and decide if Andrew Luck is number one or RBG III should be, even though they wil be drafting in the late 20′s or 30′s this year and certaily have no need at QB.  This has helped them unearth such talents as Jason Pierre Paul, Marvin Austin, and Osi Umenyiora in the last few years.  Drafting in this manner is tough work, but you find some gems from some very small schools that some tams don’t even know about.

Tim Ruskell

We know a little bit out Jerry Angelo’s old caddy, but a few weeks ago when the Jerry Angelo retirement rumors started swirling, I dropped a question to 12th Man Rising during our weekly 5 Questions segment in advance of the Bears -Seahawks.  Here’s Keith Meyers from a few weeks ago:

Before we get to the game, there’s a lot of speculation that Bears GM Jerry Angelo may retire at the end of the season, which would clear the way for Tim Ruskell to take over as the Bears GM. What can you tell Bears fans about Ruskell? Are we going out of the frying pan into the fryer?

Your fans wont want to read what those around the Seahawks have to say about Ruskell. He is genuinely hated in Seattle, and for good reason. He mismanaged the roster and systematically eroded the talent on the team to a point where it had to be blown up and rebuild from scratch.

I can tell you that Ruskell tends to like football players over athletes. He looks for smart, high football IQ players who tend to not have the draft combine measurables coveted by more NFL teams. His approach worked great in his first year in Seattle, when he replaced half of the defense and got Seattle into the superbowl. The problem is that, as more and more of the roster was replaced with that type of player, the Seahawks weren’t able to avoid getting pushed around on both sides of the ball.

Ruskell is also fairly poor at managing the roster construction. He once kept 2 kickers on the roster all season. He also went his entire tenure in Seattle with only drafting 2 offensive lineman, while in the same time span, he drafted 4 fullbacks. His draft plan was to avoid busts (his only real bust was Aaron Curry) but he also never drafted any pro-bowlers either.

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