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The Giants have received rave reviews from around the league about the list of candidates they’ve assembled to be their next general manager. John Mara promised a more thorough, “more extensive” search than he’s ever done before.
So far, he’s delivered on that vow. Both the quantity and quality have been good.
“I think any one of a number of them would make an excellent general manager,” Mara said on Wednesday. “So I am confident that we have the resources to make the right choice here.”
Which one of the nine candidates would be the right choice? Here’s a closer look at each of them, ranked in order of my best early guess at their likelihood to get the job:
1. Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen
There are some around the league and in the Giants office who believe the 42-year-old entered the process as the favorite, for a variety of reasons. For one, Schoen – who got the leadoff interview on Wednesday morning -- worked under highly respected Bills GM Brandon Beane as they turned that hard-luck franchise into a Super Bowl contender. For another, he also should come with a glowing recommendation from Bill Parcells, who gave him his start in Miami. Everyone thinks Schoen would try to hire Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as coach if he gets the job. That may be right. After all, his boss, Beane, brought Sean McDermott with him from Carolina when he came to the Bills.
2. Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles
The 36-year-old may be young, but he’s been a rising star in the league for a while thanks to 13 years in the Chiefs organization learning from the likes of Scott Pioli, John Dorsey and Andy Reid. And considering the Chiefs made the playoffs nine times in those 13 years and won and lost a Super Bowl, plucking someone from this organization would be smart. Dorsey and Pioli will surely vouch for him to the Giants. And Poles is tied to a number of possible head coaching candidates, from offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to special teams coach Dave Toub. Also, if he’s hired, don’t rule out former Eagles coach Doug Pederson, a former Chiefs offensive coordinator.
3. Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz
The Ravens just barely experienced their second losing season in the past 14 years, and it took a 17th game to get them there. It’s hard to find a franchise that has been as successful and as overwhelmingly praised for their drafting, their pro personnel choices, and basically everything over the years. The 46-year-old Hortiz ran their draft for a decade until he was promoted two years ago. He’s the oldest and most experienced candidate on the list. He could also bring Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale with him. Martindale gave a strong performance in his interview with the Giants two years ago.
4. 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters
The 42-year-old certainly has a dazzling resume, spending six years as a scout with the Patriots during the beginning of their Super Bowl era, before going to the Broncos where they eventually won a Super Bowl, and then onto the 49ers where they went to one. He’s known for unearthing hidden gems as a scout. He left the Patriots when Josh McDaniels was hired as the Broncos coach and took him along, which is why some believe McDaniels is his preferred coach. There’s also a thought that the two of them would want to try and get quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo wherever they go, if they can.
5. Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort
He had long been the popular choice among those who thought the Giants next GM would have ties to Joe Judge, and the 43-year-old might have been the favorite if they went in that direction. Now it’s unclear if his ties to Judge will hurt him. He does have the credentials, though, and he was a finalist for the Panthers GM job a year ago. McDaniels could be a coach target for him too. So could other ex-Patriots assistants, like Daboll.
6. 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon
The 40-year-old son of former Giants fullback Mo Carthon could be a surprise contender from this list. Those that know him say he is incredibly smart and will make a tremendous impression during his interview. He’s also well-regarded and is interviewing for the Bears GM job, too. Peters may be the more high-profile candidate coming out of San Francisco, but Carthon has nine years of experience running pro personnel departments with the Rams and 49ers. His work in San Francisco has been particularly strong.
7. Titans VP of player personnel Ryan Cowden
A former employee in Carolina under Dave Gettleman, he’s been a huge part of the Titans’ success since he arrived in 2016, which has included four playoff berths in six seasons. He’s considered Titans VP Jon Robinson’s right-hand man, after a long career in scouting. He was also up for the Washington GM job that went to Martin Mayhew last year.
8. Cardinals VP of pro personnel Adrian Wilson
He jumped right into scouting when his 14-year NFL career ended and quickly rose through the ranks to head the Cardinals scouting department after Steve Wilks arrived as their coach in 2019. The only knock on him is his lack of experience, with just three years in the front office. Everyone seems to think he’ll be a GM someday, but right now may be too soon for the Giants. A name to watch for head coach if either of the Cardinals executives get the Giants job: Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, a former Arizona assistant.
9. Cardinals VP of player personnel Quentin Harris
Another player who jumped right into scouting when his playing career was over – a career that included a training camp with the Giants in 2006, by the way. He ran the Cardinals’ scouting department from 2013-18 before taking over the player personnel department, so he has more experience than Wilson. His track record is spottier than some on this list, though, given how up-and-down the Cardinals have been during his tenure.