Top 10 in 2014: The best general managers in the NFL today

Credit: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

Typically speaking, sports fans tend to worry about two things – the past and the future. They’ll debate who was the greatest player of all-time, while also spending hours discussing whether or not a rookie is going to be develop into an All-Pro.

Both are fun exercises, things that keep fans engaged and the beer flowing at the local tavern. But they miss out on what is most important – the present.

Forget about yesterday. Never mind tomorrow. Let’s talk about today.

Who are the best players in the NFL right now? Who can help a team win the Super Bowl this season? Who is writing a legacy with each passing week?

Those are the questions the editors at cover32 seek to answer in this series, “Top 10 in 2014.” In the coming weeks, every position – as well as head coach, general manager and other off-field areas – will be graded, evaluated and ranked.

The series continues with the men who assemble the rosters – general managers. They are in charge of establishing a team’s philosophy on talent evaluation, coordinating scouts and personnel people to seek players that fit those ideas, and then maneuvering through the draft and free agency in order to get those kinds of parts and pieces. In Bill Parcells’ vernacular, they are responsible for buying the groceries.

Let the debate begin!


10. Bill Belichick

It’s hard to argue with success

Plenty of people are critical of the way Belichick runs the personnel side of the Patriots, especially in recent seasons, but it’s difficult to ignore the results. Does he trade down too much in the draft? Perhaps. Does he leave glaring holes in certain positions, such as wide receiver in 2013? Maybe. But at the end of the day, he builds a roster that almost always wins at least 11 games and is atop the AFC East. That’s ultimately the measuring stick.

9. Rick Smith

Smith has assembled a talent-laden roster

Given the lack of playoff success in Houston, it may surprise some people that the guy who has been running the show on the personnel side since 2006 is on this list. But the Texans haven’t fallen short of the ultimate goal because of a lack of talent, except for perhaps at quarterback. Look at the roster Smith has built; it’s loaded with greatness on both sides of the ball, something new head coach Bill O’Brien can work with in year one.


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  • Anon

    Jerry Reese??! This writer DOES NOT follow the Giants. Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin won Reese two SBs with teams that had no business winning it all. They were underdogs both times! But he has an incredible big game QB and terrific coach. Reese paid them back by putting up a ridiculous Super Bowl countdown calendar in the locker room and giving Eli Manning a deteriorating Oline that completely collapsed last season. No other GM would dare put their super star QB behind that garbage. Unbelieveable! Without Eli, Reese would be no where near this list.

    • concretejimmy52

      Wow. Coughlin is something else. Just when you think the Giants are out of it.

  • Otis

    This list is totally meaningless without Mickey Loomis of the Saints. He is by far the best GM in the NFL. After Katrina he put together a new team from scratch by getting Sean Payton and Drew Brees. They went to the NFC Championship that first year. And every year since, he’s been a magician at working the salary cap to get the most.

    • concretejimmy52

      Maybe he’s responsible for Bounty-gate?


    The wizard of Ozzie fairy tale continues! How smart was it to sign Flacco to a contract that killed this team for years to come!As for Belicheck Playing in the weakest division in the N.F.L. for the last 20 years, He should win 11 games every year!

    • concretejimmy52

      You’re an idiot. Joe was SB MVP just one year ago. Ravens were overhauled and still on the brink of the playoffs that they go to every year. Ozzie just took one year to rebuild a SB contender. Joe Flacco is way under-rated and Ozzie ios going to prove why he’s the best in the business when the Ravens win the SB this year. I love the hate and fear. Thanks for your stupidity, Vinnie.

    • Anonymous

      Screw you Vinnie!! We love Ozzie in Baltimore and have 2 Championships to prove it! What have you got LOSER!

    • Donnie

      Vinnie he was very smart for signing his franchise QB to that contract why not? The Ravens had no franchise QB before Flacco he fits the Ravens.

    • concretejimmy52

      Giving a 6th round CB elite QB money will kill the Seahawks for years. That’s why Ozzie is the best.

      • ydousuk

        You are clueless. The reason Schneider is the best is because he can evaluate talent. Sherman was a 6th round pick, and is now the Best Corner in the league. Do your homework. He was the least thrown at, and still had the most interceptions last year. Schnieder resigned him, Bennett and Thomas, and with the increase in the salary cap next year, he will have plenty of room to resign Wilson. You need to get a grip.

  • Jesus

    Les Snead? LMFAO, he’s built a one-dimensional front 4 and nothing else. Where is Trent Baalke? The man has loaded the 49ers for right now and for the future. The dude has drafted Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Navorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Bruce Miller, Chris Culliver, Eric Reid, Tank Carradine, Marcus Lattimore, Carlos Hyde. Now onto trades and free agency: The dude traded Alex Smith for 2 2nd round picks which he turned into 5 picks, got Stevie Johnson from Buffalo for essentially nothing, shall I continue?

    • concretejimmy52

      So he traded away his better QB. That’s why the 49ers will be competitive (Jim Harbaugh). But never win a SB. Go ask the Bengals about Dalton. They already have two QB’s waiting in the wings.

  • Chris

    In Baltimore we know all about Ozzie’s genius. So what he gave Flacco all that money? He gave him what the market dictated. What other GM has drafted 3 1st ballot hall of famers since 1996? No one other than The Wizard of Oz.

    • Bob

      Chris, “The Ozzie Thing” is legend and you’re full of crap… Jonathan Ogden is the only HOF Ozzie has ever drafted. The rest are pure speculation… What Ed Reed and Ray Lewis? Plenty of teams can make that claim, look at the Patriots and Steelers.

      • concretejimmy52c

        Speculation? They’re in as soon as their time comes up, idiot. Their resume speaks for itself.

      • concretejimmy52

        I guess Manning and Brady making the HOF is speculation? I know they’re a lock.

      • concretejimmy52

        Patriots and Steelers? Who? Gronkowski? LOL. James Harrison?

      • concretejimmy52

        Then again. Art Modell isn’t in the HOF?

    • concretejimmy52

      I bet Flacco makes the HOF before it’s said and done.

  • concretejimmy52

    Everybody knows who Ozzie Newsome is. He’s a champion on and off the field.

  • what

    I agree with Jesus. Les Snead?? Lol. Where is Baalke??!!

  • Bryon Letterman

    Bill Belichick is New England’s head coach, not GM.