Falcons Linked to Four ‘Diverse’ GM Candidates: Report


Getty The Atlanta Falcons stand during the National Anthem prior to the game.

The Falcons are on a search for their next general manager after dismissing ex-general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn five weeks into the season.

While they’re not in a hurry to fill the vacant position this season, they are checking resumes and taking interviews.

And according to ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Falcons are looking into a diverse group including, former Texans’ GM Rick Smith, Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes, Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie, and current Bears’ personnel man Champ Kelly.

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Below is a brief look at each candidate’s resume.

Reggie McKenzie

McKenzie, a former NFL player himself, spent seven years serving as general manager of the Raiders. During his tenure, McKenzie made some quality draft picks such as Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper, and Derek Carr.

In an attempt to rebuild the team and draft the three college standouts, McKenzie released several starting players including Richard Seymour, Michael Huff, Tommy Kelly, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Rolando McClain and traded away starting quarterback Carson Palmer. The Raiders struggled for two seasons until they went 7-9 in 2015.

McKenzie would continue as the GM until 2018 when he was fired for a disappointing 6-10 record in the 2017 season.

He is currently employed by the Miami Dolphins as a senior personnel executive.

Rick Smith

Smith, a Purdue football alum, became the general manager of the Texans in 2006 where he was responsible for all aspects of football operations, salary cap management, and budgeting.  In 2016, he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager where he oversaw all football-related operations and the player acquisition process.

He took a leave of absence a year later to take care of his wife who had breast cancer. He reported he would be gone in 2018 as well and the Texans hired a new GM. Still, Smith retained his position as Executive VP of Football Operations.

Champ Kelly

Kelly was a player for an indoor league, Lexington Horseman, from 2003 to 2006. He continued to serve as coach and GM in 2007. Under Kelly, the Horsemen won the Indoor Bowl IV in 2004 and were runner-up in United Bowl II and United Bowl III.

In 2007, Kelly made his way to the NFL as a Northeast College scout for the Denver Broncos. and worked his way up to the position of Assistant Director of Pro Personnel.

In 2015, Kelly joined the Chicago Bears as the team’s director of pro scouting and was promoted to Assistant Director of Player Personnel in 2017. He is responsible for grading the top 100 draft prospects, leading the team’s efforts in free agency, and advance scouting. He was also a candidate for the Jets’ GM search in 2019.

Brad Holmes

Holmes, who comes from a football family, has yet to be a GM as his story is a little different than everyone else’s. He spent 15 years climbing the ladder to establish himself as a respected college scout. Now, he is Rams general manager Les Snead’s most trusted guy.

Though it’s been a long journey as a scout, his eye is still on the bigger prize.

“Yeah, it’s always been an ultimate dream of mine,” Holmes said on wanting to be a GM via Yahoo Sports. “It’s funny, I was having this conversation with my wife, and it’s like, the only reason I’ve gotten to this point in my career now is that I’ve only concentrated on being the best I can be in my role. Whatever that role is at that time.

“So I was a scouting assistant, and I tried to be the best scouting assistant. I want to get the coffee the fastest, I want to make the best profile tape possible, and all of that. When I was an area scout, I wanted to be the best at that. You know what I mean? So I never really looked ahead. Opportunities — all of them blessings — have landed on me, and I’ve just kind of earned my way to where I am now. ”

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