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January 9, 2014 @ 6:50 pm
Current rating: 1 Star/1 Votes

Bucs G.M. Search Narrows: Four Potential Candidates

Written by Mark
Dawson will interview with the Buccaneers according to reports
Dawson will interview with the Buccaneers according to reports Countesy of the Titans


Mark Cook


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Once thought to be the Bucs top choice to become the team's new general manager, Chris Ballard declined the chance to interview this week and now the Glazers continue their search to replace Mark Dominik. Here is a breakdown of the four leading candidates.
The Glazer family wasted no time in identifying and securing who they wanted to be their next head coach, locking up Lovie Smith just three days after firing Greg Schiano. The search to fill the vacated office of former general manager Mark Dominik, who was fired after 19 seasons in the Buccaneers organization, is taking considerably longer, although signs are pointing that the field is narrowing.

Kansas City Chiefs Director of Player Personnel Chris Ballard was thought to be the front runner and most likely to be named as Dominik’s successor last week, in part due to his ties to Smith in Chicago. Ballard spent 12 seasons in Chicago holding several roles including area scout before leaving to join the Chiefs last spring.

Reports began surfacing on Wednesday the Chiefs had blocked Ballard from interviewing with Tampa Bay, but then on Thursday it was revealed that Ballard chose not to be in the mix possibly due to not wanting to uproot his family twice in less than a year or because he wouldn’t have final say in personnel. It has been debated, and remains unclear, how much say Smith will have in personnel decisions.

With Ballard apparently out of the mix, here is the latest short list of candidates.

Lionel Vital
Falcons’ Director Of Player Personnel

Vital, according to reports, appears to be the favorite to fill the general manager role since Ballard has bowed out. Vital has 23 years of experience in scouting and player personnel. 2013 was Vital’s first season as Director of Player Personnel after spending the 2012 season as the Associate Director of Player Personnel. Prior to that, Vital was the Falcon’s Assistant Director of Player Personnel, working with general manager Thomas Dimitroff in a college scouting capacity. Vital also graded the top unrestricted NFL free agents at all positions as well as working onspecial projects with Dimitroff according to the Falcons media guide.

Marc Ross
Giants’ Vice President of Player Evaluation

Ross emerged as a candidate on Wednesday according to FoxSports 1's Mike Garafolo. PewterReport.com mentioned Ross as a potential candidate last week when previewing potential Dominik replacements. Ross has worked his way up from a public relations intern to his current position with the Giants. In between, Ross has been credited with finding players like cornerback Terrell Thomas, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, offensive lineman Will Beatty and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul as a member of the Giants front office. Ross has interviewed for a handful of general manager openings in recent years, and many see Ross as on the cusp of being ready to take the next step. Ross will reportedly also interview for the vacant GM job in Miami.

Lake Dawson
Titans’ Vice President of Player Personnel

Dawson may be viewed as third on the list, but his experience, as far as being well rounded, could push him higher on the Glazers list. Dawson had a four-year playing career as a wide receiver with the Chiefs in the mid-1990s and all told has 19 years of NFL experience as a player and in the front office. Dawson has been the Titans' VP of player personnel since 2012, and has served as their VP of football operations and director of pro scouting. Dawson’s post-playing career began as a front office executive with the Seahawks in 2001 and in that capacity worked with former Buccaneers scout Tim Ruskell for two years. Dawson has worked with former Bucs Director of Player Personnel and current Titans general manager Ruston Webster most recently, even involved in contract negotiations.

Morocco Brown
Redskins’ Director Of Player Personnel

Brown has spent the last six seasons in 2013 as Director of Player Personnel after being hired from the Chicago Bears in 2008. Brown has been responsible for coordinating the advance scouting of Redskins opponents, participating in draft meetings, and the evaluation of all professional leagues for potential free agents and trade prospects. Prior to his tenure in Washington Brown spent the previous seven seasons as Assistant Director of Pro Personnel with Chicago and was there for a part of Smith’s time as Bears’ head coach.

Last modified on Thursday, 09 January 2014 19:07

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  • avatar

    The fact the Bucs have no candidates with the cap experience and past GM experience that DOM has just proves my point that the Glazers made a huge mistake cutting DOM who would have really worked well with Lovie. DOM always tried to get the talent the coaches wanted; you can bet Glennon wasn't his idea and Freeman wasn't either! I say bring DOM back Glaziers!
  • avatar

    I kind of hope we get Vital. He seems to have a good amount of experience and comes from a team with a good track record and a good winning percentage in the games when they count. I also was intrigued by the candidate from the Baltimore Ravens, though I haven't herd his name mentioned lately. I guess he is not in the picture.
  • avatar

    Hey Mark,(or Scott), If you're listening, does it seem like the Bucs will hire a GM for the player evaluations and drafting etc., and then hire someone else to strictly be the cap guy? It seems like not one of the potential candidates has any background in contract negotiations or salary cap issues!!! That is scary because that is the fastest way to RUIN a football team. Bad cap management. I hope they have a plan. I do not count Dawson dabbling in contract neg. as any experience, it sounds as if he only did it for 1 or 2 players and did not have to worry about the whole picture or about future seasons. I hope they pick whoever they think will be the best player evaluator and then go out and hire a cap guy.
  • avatar

    Mike Greenberg assisted with cap management and contracts as I understand. He's still around.
  • avatar

    Yeah a subscription to Pewter Report is only $10. And they get free chat with Scott and Mark. That would allow them to spend more money with Manchester United!
  • avatar

    Why don't the Glazers just subscribe to Pewter Report to get their player evaluations, reports on college prospects and most importantly, the Bucs Best Bets. Throw in purchasing the Mel Kiper Big Blue Book and who needs a scouting department and General Manager to pick players? As for the salary cap; just hire one of our retired double-dipping government folks who are really good at keeping finances in check or simply demand to raise the salary cap limits at their whim. Start your player research Scott, your phone might start ringing after the Glazer boys see my idea to save them money.
  • avatar

    I feel like I'd need to know them better. With Lovie Smith having a certain amount of input, I'm pretty sure whoever they pick will do a good job.
  • avatar

    What's Mark Dominik doing? He would be good....
  • avatar

    All of these guys on the interview list have solid personnel backgrounds. I read all of their resumes and I didn’t see anything about cap management and that’s because well…..they haven’t been a GM before. So on that front they’re equal. Pewter Report thinks Lake Dawson could be the choice because of his relationship with Ruston Webster in Tennesee. However, Max Luckan is reporting that the Bucs are ready to hire Lionel Vital unless somebody just blows the Glazers away. From a personnel perspective, I like what Marc Ross brought to the Giants like JPP, Hakeem Nicks, and others. Ballard’s hole card, though no longer a candidate, was that he’d had a previous good working relationship with Lovie. Note to anyone listening, everybody gets along with Lovie! Whomever they pick I’ll be good with. Success will depend on the collective organization, not one individual!
  • avatar

    Ross doesn't get credit for "finding" JPP or Nicks. They were highly rated prospects that most GMs probably wanted to draft. Give me a GM who consistently drafts well after round 3. That's way more impressive.
  • avatar

    I hope the Glazers make the correct pick as this could make or break the team for the next five to ten years. I think I would go with Vital or Ross as Dawson coming from the Titans and Brown coming from the Redskins don't say much as those teams have been below average the last ten years.
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