On Thursday, we at Inside the League pointed out a couple of the Alliance of American Football’s hires for their central offices, to wit, two men with a strong NFL background (Director of Player Personnel Russ Giglio and Executive V.P. of Football Operations Trey Brown) and another with ESPN ties (Senior Administrator of Player Personnel Joey Roberts).
When you factor in the hires of Bill Polian, Tony Softli and Bill Kuharich to the AAF’s central command, plus the dozens of former NFL GMs and scouts who’ve been hired by the eight league teams, you start to wonder if there will be anyone with experience left for the XFL, which launches in 2020, to hire.
Of course, it’s not as easy as simply Googling “NFL scouts fired.” How do you sort through the self-promoters? How do you know who is worth another shot vs. who totally blew it and doesn’t need to be recycled? Which ones have the energy and patience to be associated with a football startup? And while most people with NFL jobs are loathe to give up their jobs, how do you know which ones might be willing to take a risk?
There will certainly be new scouts, officials and executives that come available by the end of the year, but here’s where I’d start as the league begins to look for real ‘football people.’ However, here’s a dozen people (in no certain order) that warrant consideration if the powers-that-be don’t want to wait.
- Jeff Bauer, former Director of College Scouting, Jets: Jeff got washed out in New York when Mike Maccagnan took over as GM. He’s no longer in the league because he didn’t play the game — the ‘you scratch my back’ game; he was a DB at Iowa State — and he was never a self-promoter. He’s a guy who kept his mouth shut and did his job. He’s loyal and deserves another chance.
- Blake Beddingfield, former Director of College Scouting, Titans: Blake has had opportunities, but not the right one yet. He’s highly organized, smart and knowledgeable about scouting as well as the business of football. He’d be an excellent hire.
- Cody Cejda, Director of Football Operations and Strategy, Northwestern: Cody is the only name on this list without NFL work experience, but he’s a consummate professional, well-connected and highly organized. To succeed, the XFL might have to take a few risks. Cody would be well worth it.
- Mark Dominik, former GM, Bucs: My understanding is that Dominik has been conducting interview prep from his base in Tampa since he left the Bucs. People with experience running NFL front offices don’t grow on trees.
- Ray Farmer, former GM, Browns: We all know things weren’t pretty in Cleveland. However, I know Ray as a progressive thinker who was already trying to crack the analytics code when he was dumped in Cleveland, and he’s got an impressive resume.
- Matt Manocherian, Director of Football Development, Sports Info Solutions: If you want to succeed in today’s pro football environment, you need to do things differently. Matt brings NFL scouting experience (Browns, Saints) as well as a tremendous handle on what analytics can tell you about today’s prospects.
OK, we lied. For the other six candidates we like, you’ll have to wait for our Friday Wrap, which comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can register for it here.
Of course, there are several others that are prominent in the media, such as ex-Browns GM Michael Lombardi of The Ringer, former Eagles Director of Pro Personnel Louis Riddick of ESPN and others. On the other hand, they may see how things have worked out for their former media associate, Jon Gruden, and decide to stay the course. There’s also former Niners GM Trent Baalke, who’s working with the NFL and likely cooling his heels, waiting on another NFL opportunity.
Don’t forget: there’s plenty more to talk about in the business of pro and college football (plus six more men the XFL should be considering), and we do that each week in the Friday Wrap. It’s free, it’s full of information on the business of the game, and it’s read by literally thousands of people in the business as well as others who will be part of its someday. Here’s last week’s edition. Register for it here.