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Potential Giants’ GM candidates: Casting a wide net for names to watch

Here are names to know if Dave Gettleman is indeed finished as Giants’ GM when the season ends

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NFL: JUL 26 Colts Training Camp
Ed Dodds
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It is really now just a matter of hours before the New York Giants season ends, almost certainly bringing with it the end of Dave Gettleman’s four-year tenure as general manager.

The Giants are 19-45 (a .297 winning percentage) during Gettleman’s tenure. Only the Detroit Lions (16-46-2), New York Jets (17-47) and Jacksonville Jaguars (14-50) have been worse during that time period.

I recently went through a list of 11 candidates, all of whom have ties to the Giants, New England Patriots or Joe Judge in some way. I encourage you to go read the full post for more information on each, but here is that list:

Kevin Abrams, Kyle O’Brien, DuJaun Daniels, Monti Ossenfort, Scott Pioli, Adam Peters, Louis Riddick, Eliot Wolf, James Liipfert, Dave Ziegler, Matt Groh.

Off that list, it’s likely Abrams’ job if they decide to stay in house. My guess is out of this group I would pay particular attention to Ossenfort, who is director of player personnel for the Tennessee Titans, Wolf, a Patriots scouting consultant and former personnel man for the Green Bay Packers, and Ziegler, director of player personnel for the Patriots.

Sports Illustrated NFL Insider Albert Breer wrote this about Ossenfort:

He was a finalist for the Panthers’ GM job last year, and his New England–based connection to Giants coach Joe Judge (the two have a good relationship) could put him in contention for the Giants job next month.

Who else is there?

There are a lot of quality executives out there who are probably deserving of an opportunity, and who may eventually get one. Only a couple of these jobs open up every offseason, though, so from year-to-year the candidate pool may not change significantly .

Here are five potential candidates with no previous known ties to any of those things. I have no inside information on who the Giants want to talk to or who will/will not talk to them. These are just names you should probably know when the process officially begins.

Ed Dodds, Colts assistant GM — Dodds has interviewed for some jobs over the years, including openings with the Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions a year ago. Dodds, who spent 10 years as a senior personnel executive with the Seattle Seahawks before taking the No. 2 job in Indianapolis in 2018, is seen as a candidate with choices. He is on pretty much everyone’s list, and it is believed he can wait for the opportunity he wants.

Would that be with the Giants?

Breer wrote that Dodds has been “Long seen as one of the NFL’s premier evaluators.”

It would seem like a no-brainer for Giants ownership to ask Dodds for a sit-down.

Ryan Poles, Chiefs executive director of player personnel — Poles is a former Boston college offensive lineman who has worked his way up from a scouting assistant to the No. 3 chair in the Kansas City front office since beginning there in 2009.

Poles is just 36. A gamble perhaps, but the kind of candidate who could be in a GM chair for a very long time once he gets an opportunity.

Breer writes:

One of the fastest risers on the board, the former Boston College star lineman—he was Matt Ryan’s left guard there—has grown to become an integral part of [Brett] Veach’s department in Kansas City. He was a surprise candidate in Carolina last year, and wound up becoming a finalist. Poles came up on the college side, but works with Veach and [Mike] Borgonzi in a broad role now.

Pete Sweeney of SB Nation’s Chiefs web site, Arrowhead Pride, tells me that “The people around here speak very highly of him.” He also told me that the Panthers were “stunned” by Poles.

NOTE: I have a bit of a selfish reason for hoping Poles gets consideration from the Giants. We don’t know each other and have never crossed paths, but Poles played high school football at Canandaigua Academy in Western New York. As a young journalist I was sports editor of the Canandaigua Daily Messenger for a few years and covered that football team when it won a couple of state titles. Oh, and I met my wife of 36 years while we were both living in Canandaigua, as well.

So, yeah, there is a little soft spot in my heart for the place — and for people connected to it.

Joe Schoen, Bills assistant GM — This is a name that keeps popping up as I research potential candidates.

Breer writes:

Schoen is as highly-regarded as anyone on this list. The Panthers and Falcons interviewed him last year and, based on the Bills’ success, he’s likely to be in the mix for any job that comes open this year. He’s worked in Carolina and Miami, and has experience in every facet of the personnel work

Want to really get to know more about Schoen, the right-hand man for Brandon Beane in Buffalo, where the Bills have become one of the league’s best teams? Read this. And this.

Joe Hortiz, Ravens director of player personnel — Hortiz has been with the Ravens since his career began in 1998. That means he has learned at the feet of Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome and current GM Erik DeCosta.

Breer writes:

The Ravens’ longtime college scouting director moved into Eric DeCosta’s old role when DeCosta replaced a retiring Newsome, and still runs the draft while serving in a more comprehensive capacity. Given how Baltimore has continued to be innovative and forward-thinking as an organization, on just about every front, Hortiz should be well-positioned to get his shot soon.

Hortiz’ Ravens bio says:

Hortiz is responsible for all aspects of the college process, coordinating the schedules and cross-checking duties of the area and regional scouts. Hortiz also manages the team’s draft preparation and the evaluation and ranking process of hundreds of NFL draft-eligible prospects.

The Ravens have long been one of the best drafting team in the NFL, and have not been unwilling to go outside the box like they did when they drafted Lamar Jackson a few seasons ago. If Hortiz will interview, he’s probably a guy the Giants should talk to.

Will McClay, Cowboys VP of player personnel — With the Cowboys since 2009, McClay is considered to be a top-notch talent evaluator. Thing is, he has not worked outside of Dallas since 2002 and has consistently turned down interview requests.

Breer writes:

The question isn’t whether McClay could land a job, it’s whether he’ll want to go—he’s the top personnel man in the Cowboys’ organization, he’s rooted in Texas and the Jones family loves and takes good care of him. And for good reason—McClay’s helped Dallas consistently field outstanding rosters, and has experience not just in scouting but also coaching and analytics. (There’s a big part of me that believes he’s exactly what the Giants need.)

Brian Martin of Inside the Star wrote this about McClay a year ago:

I highly doubt Will McClay is going anywhere soon. He seems to truly enjoy his role with the Dallas Cowboys and doesn’t seem to mind playing second fiddle to the Jones’. He may want to be the captain of his own ship in time, but thankfully it doesn’t look as if that will be anytime soon.

It can’t hurt to ask.