Scot McLoughan resigns, Jeff Ireland joins FO

Marc Serota

This is all pretty old news by now, but Scot McLoughan resigning and Jeff Ireland signing up for the Hawks front office is a pretty major shuffle leading up to the draft, so let's talk about it...

In case you missed it, Seattle Seahawks senior personnel executive Scot McCloughan resigned in late April to tend to personal matters. When McLoughan's tenure as the 49ers GM ended in 2010 the same "personal matters" reason was given. Whether this is related or something else, we can only wish Scot the best in dealing with whatever his issues are, and hope he can rebound again as he did last time.

While McLoughan's tenure as the 49ers GM was a mixed bag, many of their key players come from the drafts he led from 2005 to 2010. He joined the Seahawks in 2010 and no doubt is due some of the credit of the outstanding Seahawks drafts we've seen since, though how much credit is simply impossible to say from the outside looking in. From all reports he has an excellent eye for talent and he was no doubt a valued part of our front office, and losing one of your top men two weeks before the draft has gotta sting.

The Seahawks must have had some forewarning because it was only a few days after when they signed the former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland as a "pre-draft consultant". With only a two week gap between then and the draft it is doubtful he would take on Scot's various tasks, but it is also clear he may well stick around after the draft, presumably to fill McLoughan's place.

Jeff Ireland comes from a very similar situation as Scot McLoughan did, the Seahawks' predilection for picking up castoffs extending to their FO as it does their players. Ireland was the Dolphins GM from 2008 to 2013 and like Scot's tenure, it did not go very well. He had early success but the expected growth stayed out, and he some controversies surround his leadership abilities, the scrutiny only worsening from the recent Incognito-Martin events.

Ireland's player and trade decisions were often poor, and his early-round picks are mixed, but he has shown some talent at identifying contributors in late rounds or free agency, guys like Brian Hartline or Chris Clemons (the safety). But his drafts do not come close to Scot McLoughan's in talent found. A small added bonus factor here: John Schneider and Jeff Ireland have worked together before, with Jeff being a scout with the Kansas City Chiefs in the late 90s when John was the Director of Pro Personnel there.

One should realize that even a failed NFL GM is a very talented, intelligent human being (probably Matt Millen excepted), and in both cases the people involved are highly skilled talent evaluators who have other shortcomings that kept them from being good GMs. For them it is a chance to boost their careers, for us we're getting extremely talented people and putting them in the right spot to succeed, without the opportunity to repeat the same mistakes. It's impossible to say from the outside looking in either how important McLoughan was or how well Ireland will do filling his shoes, but at the very least it's great to see our front office follow a consistent and careful method. It's easy to just dismiss someone like Jeff Ireland as "incompetent", but it's highly doubtful he would have ever made it to GM if he isn't a very talented, devoted individual, as would be true for all NFL GMs (again, Matt Millen excepted).

Also, this makes the Seahawks one of the few teams that actually benefits from the extended time leading up to the draft, as John Schneider and Jeff Ireland can no doubt make good use of every day added to get their heads in sync. How will this affect our draft? Is signing Ireland a good move? Discuss!

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