By: James Johnson (@J_1010xl)
It was announced Tuesday by Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports that David Caldwell was close to inking a deal to become the Jags' new GM. It was later confirmed by Jay Glazer of Yahoo Sports and Adam Schefter of ESPN that an agreement had officially been made. Caldwell, the former Director of Player Personnel of the Falcons, was believed to be in the lead for the Jaguars GM opening with the Cardinals' former Vice President of Player Personnel, Steve Keim, in a close second behind him.
Caldwell was interviewed 3 times, which is more than any other candidate the Jags spoke with. Keim became the team's other option, as he was interviewed by the team this weekend. He later accepted the job to become the Cardinals' GM Tuesday before the Jags inked Caldwell. Tom Gamble dropped from the running as he declined a second interview with the Jaguars to meet with the Jets, who are believed to be the favorite for his services.
Caldwell, who is only 38 years old, started in 1998 when Bill Polian hired him to be a regional scout for the Colts. He was a teammate of Bill Polian's son, Chris, in college. After Caldwell's college career, Polian hired him as a scouting assistant in 1996. Polian was later hired by the Colts in 1997 and brought Caldwell along a year later as an area scout. He worked under Polian for 10 years dating up to 2008 when he was promoted by Thomas Dimitroff, GM of the Atlanta Falcons, to be the Falcons Director of College Personnel. He served that title for 4 years and was eventually promoted to Director of Player Personnel by Dimitroff in 2012.
With a resume of his caliber, I certainly see why Shad Khan was impressed with him. Most would say he has a difficult task ahead of him to rebuild the Jaguars, but Caldwell is in a situation that he is all to familiar with. When he was hired as a scout by the Colts, they were picking from the first spot in the 1998 draft--and we all know how that turned out for the franchise after they drafted the legendary Peyton Manning. Then, he eventually moved on to become Atlanta's Director of College Personnel in 2008, who, like the Colts of 1998, weren't in the best shape. The team was coming out of the Michael Vick situation, and, in an effort to rebuild the team, Thomas Dimitroff was hired. He brought in Caldwell to be the Director of College Personnel.
As we all know, with the third pick in that draft they took Matt Ryan and began to build the franchise into the powerhouse it is today. Once again, he'll be drafting in the top three here in Jacksonville. I can't guarantee that he'll draft the franchises' future QB with our first round selection, but since Caldwell's been here before, I'm confident he will make the pick and the ones following it count. Below is what I've grasped from Caldwell's tenure in the NFL.
• Indianapolis Colts (1998-2008)
As an regional scout for the team he witnessed team draft marquee players such as Peyton Manning (98), Edgerrin James (98), Mike Peterson (98), Reggie Wayne (01), Ryan Diem (01), Dwight Freeney (02), Dallas Clark (03), Robert Mathis (03), Bob Sanders (03), Antoine Bethea (06).
• Atlanta Falcons (2008-2013), Director of College Personnel
In Caldwell's first year in Atlanta (2008) he was given the responsibility to lead the Falcons efforts in the college scouting department. That year, the team drafted QB Matt Ryan, OT Sam Baker, and S Thomas DeCoud, and DE Kroy Bierman, all of whom are currently starters on the team's roster. The team also drafted Harry Douglas, who is currently their starting WR in the slot. They also signed Michael Turner in free agency. Mike Smith was named the team's head coach in the beginning of 08 as well.
In 09 under Dimitroff and Caldwell, the team drafted current starters in DT Peria Jerry, S William Moore. The team also drafted current back-ups in DT Vance Walker, DE Lawrence Sidbury, and current Jaguar CB William Middleton. They also signed veteran TE Tony Gonzalez in 2009.
In 2010 under Dimitroff and Caldwell, the team drafted current starters in OLB Sean Weatherspoon and DT Corey Peters, C Joe Hawley. The team also drafted current back-ups in Dominique Franks and Mike Johnson. They also signed starting CB Dunta Robinson in free agency.
In 2011 under Dimitroff and Caldwell, the team drafted current starters in WR Julio Jones, LB Akeem Dent, and P Matt Bosher. They also drafted current back-ups in RB Jacquizz Rodgers and DE Cliff Matthews. It's been stated Caldwell played a large role in trading up to acquire Julio Jones as well.
• (2012) Caldwell promoted to Director of Player Personnel
In 2012, Caldwell and Dimitroff drafted 1 starter in OL Peter Konz. They also drafted back-ups in OT Lamar Holmes, DE Jonathan Massaquoi, S Charles Mitchell, and DT Travian Robertson. They traded their first round pick of 2012 for Julio Jones in 2011 and their 2012 seventh round pick for current starting CB Asante Samuel. Both are deals the appear to certainly be worth it.
Based on the resume above, if Caldwell follows in Thomas Dimitroff's footsteps, it seems that we have someone that will draft starters in the early rounds and hit on some in the late rounds, as well. It's looks to me like the Falcons have an organization that likes to hold on to their late round guys and let them develop as back-ups, which is a philosophy that is fine by me. In free agency it appears when they go big it's for a premium position (Example: CB Robinson) or a starter that will add another dimension to the team (Example:Gonzalez, Turner). When you take into account that they've made the post-season 4 of 5 times since Caldwell's been there, it appears their draft and free agency philosophy is one that works very well. If Caldwell can duplicate what his mentor, Dimitroff, taught him in Atlanta, I'd say we are in good hands, folks!
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