Monday, April 21, 2003
Updated: April 23, 10:12 AM ET
Coaches rarely have final say during draft
By John Clayton
Here's a list of the head honchos running the draft rooms for each of the 32 teams:
Rod Graves: With general manager Bob Ferguson moving on to Seattle, vice president for football operations Graves has the call on draft choices. The former Bears top scout works well with head coach Dave McGinnis and they try to come to a consensus on the selections. That doesn't prevent owner Bill Bidwill or one of his sons -- Michael or Bill -- from overruling the football people on decisions.
Ron Hill: Vice president of football operations Hill has the final say on the draft, and he earned it by brokering the Michael Vick trade from San Diego two years ago. He's loyal to the wishes of head coach Dan Reeves. Available for suggestions is long-time NFL general manager Bobby Beathard, who will be around until next year as a consultant.
Ozzie Newsome: Vice president Newsome has the final authority. He runs the front office like a CEO, taking suggestions from head coach Brian Billick and college director Phil Savage. The system has worked well with a long string of successful first-round choices.
Tom Donahoe: President Tom Donahoe runs it all and he runs it well. Last year, he brokered the Drew Bledsoe deal for a first-round pick in 2003 that put the Bills into the playoff hunt. Tom Modrak is his trusted ear whom he's been lucky not to lose to other teams. Donahoe and Modrak worked well together during many successful years with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Marty Hurney: General manager Hurney has the final say but he won't make a major decision without the support of coach John Fox, owner Jerry Richardson and Richardson's son, Mark. Hurney hired Fox as the head coach last season.
Jerry Angelo: General manager Angelo has final say on all personnel matters, while coach Dick Jauron has the power of running his coaching staff. This will be Angelo's second draft since coming to the Bears from Tampa Bay.
Mike Brown: Even though owner Brown has given coach Marvin Lewis a lot of leeway in making decisions, the Bengals aren't going to make any pick without Brown saying yes. The Bengals have come a long way this offseason. Lewis spent $19 million of Brown's money to acquire four starters on defense. Brown is taking a lesser role, but it's still his call.
Butch Davis: Coach Davis has complete control. A year ago, there was a debate between Davis and president Dwight Clark on who was making decisions. Clark is no longer with the Browns. Davis runs the front office with the help of his longtime friend and administrator Pete Garcia.
Jerry Jones: Owner Jones is the general manager and makes the final decision on personnel. Bill Parcells can only make suggestions, but Jones will listen to Parcells' input. It will be interesting to watch whether Jones will bypass cornerback Terence Newman if he's available with the fifth pick to try to get Parcells some size on his defensive line.
Mike Shanahan: All eyes are on Shanahan, the team's head coach and boss. General manager Ted Sundquist, though, has become more involved in the decision making in the past year. It's a great setup for a coach because owner Pat Bowlen is one of the best as far as supporting his coach and trying to free up enough money to make major acquisitions.
Matt Millen: Last year, team president Millen had the final say but he was overruled by owner Bill Ford Jr. on what he wanted to do in the first round. Millen wanted cornerback Quentin Jammer. The owner wanted quarterback Joey Harrington. They took Harrington. The front office has been reorganized with Millen having less of a voice, but he does have final say as long as Ford Jr. agrees. The decision making is a consensus among Millen, coach Steve Mariucci, vice president of finance Tom Lewand and college scout Scott McEwen.
Mike Sherman: Coach Sherman has all the power. Former Bears general manager Mark Hatley has a say. So does college scouting director John Dorsey. But the final decision comes down to Sherman.
Charley Casserley: General manager Casserly built the organization from scratch. He designed the team headquarters. He managed the expansion draft. He runs the draft. He is one of the most powerful general managers in the sport. Owner Bob McNair has total confidence in the way he is building this franchise.
Bill Polian: General manager Polian is in total charge of all personnel decision. He manages the salary cap. He runs the draft. He makes the decisions on free agent acquisitions. He built winners in Carolina and Buffalo and did the same in Indianapolis.
James Harris: This franchise underwent more decision making change than any in the sport. Gone is coach Tom Coughlin, who had final authority on every decision. Decisions are now made by vice president of player personnel Harris, coach Jack Del Rio and cap guy Paul Vance.
Carl Peterson: Team president Peterson has final authority on every football and business decision in the organization. He delegates a lot of the day-to-day duties, but it's his franchise to say yes or no. He listens to suggestions by head coach Dick Vermeil, whom he talked out of retirement to try to bring a Super Bowl to Kansas City.
Dave Wannstedt: Head coach Wannstedt has final say, but he works well with vice president Rick Spielman, whom he brought over from their days together with the Chicago Bears. Spielman and Wannstedt work as well together as any tandem in the NFL.
Mike Tice and Scott Studwell: Coach Tice and college scouting director Studwell share the power of making draft selections, but they work well together. Owner Red McCombs believes in Tice and may side with him on ties, but Tice is a bright leader who finds ways to avoid internal differences.
Bill Belichick: Belichick is the coach and he has the final authority on all personnel decisions, but he puts a lot of faith in vice president of player personel Scott Pioli, who made most of the veteran signings that won a Super Bowl for the franchise.
Mickey Loomis: Coach Jim Haslett has gained more power in the personnel decision-making process, but the final say belongs to general manager Loomis. Loomis works a consensus, involving himself, Haslett and player personnel director Rick Mueller. This will be the Saints first draft without former general manager Randy Mueller, who turned the Saints into a playoff team in his first season.
Ernie Accorsi: General manager Accorsi runs the personnel department. The Giants have one of the best systems for coming to draft decisions. Their meetings and debates are well-structured and everybody gets to push for their individual preferences. Coach Jim Fassel can make his pitch for a player. College player personnel director Jerry Reese gets his way a lot of the time, but Accorsi listens to all and makes a decision.
Terry Bradway: General manager Bradway will be running his third draft. He's had back-to-back playoff years with head coach Herman Edwards. Bradway came to the Jets from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Al Davis: Who else? Davis. The team owner has final say on every decision, including lawsuits. Davis trusts the input of a front office staff that includes Bruce Allen, Mike Lombardi, Chet Franklin and Jon Kingdon.
Andy Reid: Reid is the coach and general manager, but he's not going to make a major decision without having the support of owner Jeff Lurie and president Joe Banner.
Kevin Colbert: Coach Bill Cowher may not have the official say, but he does in reality. Cowher doesn't have any personnel decision come down without his approval. Colbert runs the draft and runs it in a way to make sure Cowher gets the players that he wants.
A.J. Smith: The loss of general manager John Butler is a major one. He's one of the best in the sport. Smith, his longtime best friend and No. 2 decision maker, will run the draft and should soon be promoted to Butler's job. These are tough days for the Chargers because this draft will have so much emotion not having Butler in the room.
Mike Martz: Coach Mike Martz has final say written into his contract even though general manager Charley Armey runs the draft meetings. Armey knows how to work in a situation in which the head coach has final say from his days in New England with Bill Parcells.
Terry Donahue: Any question who is in charge was made clear when the 49ers fired Steve Mariucci instead of giving him more power in the personnel department. General manager Terry Donahue picks the players. Coach Dennis Erickson is comfortable with that arrangement. Donahue takes input from consultant Bill Walsh and top college scout Bill Reese.
Bob Whitsitt: Team president Whitsitt took the general manager powers away from head coach Mike Holmgren and is involved in some of the personnel meetings. He hired Bob Ferguson as general manager to help on veteran additions but vice president Ted Thompson runs the draft. Thompson may not have final say, but his voice is a strong one. Whitsitt, who runs the Portland Trailblazers, is there to settle ties.
Rich McKay: General manager Rich McKay has the final say on the draft and on personnel decisions. A month ago, coach Jon Gruden had complaints about the team's slow movement in free agency because of a tight salary cap, but it's McKay's call on new additions on the team. Of course, Gruden has a voice, and his success makes everyone in the office listen.
Floyd Reese: General manager Reese has the final decision on any player coming to the team. He runs the draft. He manages the cap. He does it all. Having a coach as talented as Jeff Fisher, Reese's system has been a consistent success in keeping the Titans in playoff and championship contention.
Daniel Snyder: Owner Synder has final say and he runs the franchise similar to Jerry Jones in Dallas. Snyder negotiates the contracts and approves acquisitions. Vinny Cerrato runs the draft. Last year, vice president of football operations Joe Mendes ran the front office, but this year it's Snyder and Cerrato.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.