For the first time since 2005, the San Francisco 49ers will be hiring a new general manager and head coach in the same offseason.
There will be many reports over the next couple of days of who these candidates will be. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora got the ball rolling Saturday night. Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager added more coaching candidates Sunday morning.
Some names I've heard 49ers will consider for GM – Louis Riddick, Scott Pioli, George Paton. High on coaches Josh McDaniels, Vance Joseph
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 1, 2017
Preliminary names to watch in SF: Sean McDermott, Mike Smith, Lynn, Tom Cable, McDaniels, Vance Joseph, Sean Mcvay, Doug Marrone. @NFLonFOX
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) January 1, 2017
There’s a bunch of interesting names on that list, but let’s focus quickly on Riddick.
The current ESPN analyst was actually a safety drafted in the ninth round by the 49ers back in 1991. He bounced around the NFL until 1998 and then became a scout with the Washington Redskins in 2001. He eventually rose to Director of Pro Personnel from 2005-07, leading the Redskins to the playoffs twice in that three season span. Riddick held similar titles with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2008-2013.
All I can tell you is my opinion of Riddick from television, but he’s a sharp, articulate guy who can communicate a vision well — unlike Trent Baalke. He’s been out of the talent evaluation game for a few seasons, though, which is a concern. Riddick has also never been a GM before, entailing a much different pressure packed lifestyle than scouting all the time on the road.
Riddick was initially hired in Washington by current Seahawks GM John Schneider. Riddick was also rumored to be considered for the Detroit Lions open GM vacancy last offseason.
It would make sense for the 49ers to hire a GM before they hire their new head coach. If it’s done the other way around, Jed York will be pigeonholing GM candidates to marry their talent evaluating system to a head coach.