You might know Louis Riddick only as an NFL analyst for ESPN, a role he has been in since 2013. If you’re old enough you might remember that Riddick was a pretty good player, a ninth-round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 1991 who played in 94 games for three teams, ending his playing days in 1998.
Riddick was a scout for the Redskins from 2001-2004, then was promoted to director of pro personnel, a role he held from 2005-2007. He moved on to Philly in 2008, and was director of pro personnel for the Eagles from 2010-2013.
The Giants confirmed on Thursday afternoon that they had interviewed Riddick for their vacant general manager job. He is the first candidate with no previous ties to the Giants to interview for the position.
In a study of GM candidates that he updates annually for Inside the Pylon, Dan Hatman wrote this about Riddick:
“Riddick has a unique path to this list as his platform at ESPN has allowed many to learn about his philosophies and the feedback has been positive.”
Here is a hint regarding at least part of what Riddick’s philosophy is.
“It’s not just about knowing what you want, but more about what are you willing to do to get what you want. “— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) December 20, 2017
Riddick, 48, has been talked about as a GM candidate for a while now, and got an interview for the job with the San Francisco 49ers last offseason before that position went to John Lynch.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated last summer, Riddick admitted he would like to be a general manager.
“Is being a GM still a goal? Absolutely. If the right situation comes up and there is interest, I will definitely explore it,” Riddick said. “But I must emphasize that it has to be something that works on many different levels, as I’m happy doing what I am doing at ESPN, and plan on trying to be the very best in the business.”
Would Riddick and the Giants be a match? Let’s take a closer look.
Why it would work
Well, this would be the “wholesale change” John Mara talked about when the Giants let Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo go. Riddick never worked as a scout or pro personnel man on a team coached by Bill Belichick, but he did play for him for three seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
Riddick might be able to bring New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with him as head coach. There have been indications that Riddick/McDaniels were a package deal in San Francisco before McDaniels backed out, taking Riddick’s shot at the job with him. Needing a new approach on offense, and perhaps someone who can groom a young quarterback, McDaniels would be an appealing option as head coach.
Why it wouldn’t work
Sitting in a TV studio and dissecting the decisions made by other teams is a lot different than having to sit in the big chair and make those decisions yourself. Can Riddick run the show? We have heard him talk about college players on TV, but his scouting background is in pro personnel. What evidence is there that he can run a draft? Manage the salary cap? Hire the right coach? He has never been a team’s decision-maker, or even the No. 2 to the GM.
In an interview last January, Riddick’s former boss in Washington, Vinny Cerrato, didn’t exactly endorse him.
“I mean what you see on TV is nice, but he has never been a head decision-maker,” Cerrato said. “In Washington he was never a decision-maker and I’m almost sure he was never a decision-maker in Philly. So he’s going to need a lot of learning on the job.
“Because he went from Philly, where Howie fired him in Philly, to got the job at ESPN. I mean, he’s a very smart guy. He’s a smart guy. But he just doesn’t have a lot of experience. That’s the thing. I mean, is he a good guy? Yeah. Louis is a decent guy. You know, he just doesn’t have a lot of experience.”
Hiring him would require taking a leap of faith. Someone is probably going to take that leap of faith one day. Will it, and should it, be the Giants?