Andrew Raphael

Ravens Announce Several Front Office Promotions

Much like their roster and coaching staff, the 2023 Ravens saw their front office fall victim to departures for bigger jobs around the league, as well. Executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta announced seven promotions this week to help fill some of the new vacancies.

George Kokinis was the first staffer mentioned to take the next step up in his career. After spending the past five years as director of player personnel, Kokinis has been promoted to the title of vice president of player personnel. He is one of the longest-tenured staffers in Baltimore’s player personnel department and has worked in the NFL for 33 years. His tenure with the team technically dates back to when he was a scouting intern in Cleveland in 1991. He was invited by former owner Art Modell to join in the franchise’s move to Baltimore in 1996.

In 2023, the team had two directors of player personnel: Kokinis and new Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz. With Hortiz gone and Kokinis receiving a title bump, former assistant director of player personnel Mark Azevedo will step up into the role the former two once shared. Azevedo is another long-term staffer, joining the team as a player personnel assistant in 2005. In the past 19 years, Azevedo has worked his way up through the scouting department.

Former director of college scouting David Blackburn crossed the beltway to work with the Commanders, leaving the door open for former national scout Andrew Raphael to step up into the role. Raphael has been with the team for 10 years, joining as a player personnel intern in 2013. He will be joined atop the college scouting department by Joey Cleary, a nine-year Ravens staffer who served as a Southeast area scout for the past three seasons.

On the pro scouting side of things, Corey Frazier has been promoted to assistant director of pro personnel. Joining the team as a player personnel assistant in 2017, Frazier spent two years as a pro scout before working the past three seasons as the team’s West Coast area scout.

The team also named a couple of promotions in their analytics departments. DeCosta announced that David McDonald would be named vice president of research and development. McDonald has been in Baltimore for nine years, leading all software and data development aspects of the player personnel department as director of research and development since 2019.

Lastly, Derrick Yam was promoted to director of data and decision science after serving the past two seasons as manager of data and decision science. Yam joined the Ravens as a quantitative analyst in 2019 after earning a master’s degree in biostatistics from Brown University.

Staff Notes: Johnson, Lions, Ravens, Browns

Jets owner Woody Johnson is back running his team, after his United Kingdom ambassadorship under President Donald Trump ended. Johnson now oversees a staff hired while his brother — Christopher Johnson — was operating as owner. Woody Johnson is behind the Jets’ current Joe DouglasRobert Saleh power structure, despite not being involved in their respective hirings.

They’ve got a tremendous amount of leeway,” Johnson said of Douglas and Saleh, via Rich Cimini of “I’m totally in sync with these guys. Chris [Johnson] made some unbelievable choices, and we’re lucky to get both of those gentlemen. I couldn’t be more excited,” he continued. “I’m very optimistic, generally, but I’m particularly optimistic now when I see what happens on the field [in practice].”

It will be interesting to follow Johnson’s relationship with Douglas and Saleh, given the unique circumstances behind this power trio. The returning owner does not plan to interfere with the Douglas regarding personnel, Cimini adds. The Douglas-Saleh partnership follows two unsteady pairings formed during Christopher Johnson’s interim ownership tenure, with the Adam GaseMike Maccagnan tandem lasting less than six months together and Douglas firing Gase — who helped him land the GM gig — after the 2020 season.

Here is the latest from the front office and coaching ranks:

  • Although the Lions hired a new GM (Brad Holmes), several Bob Quinn-era staffers will remain going forward. Holmes will keep Lance Newmark (player personnel director), Dave Sears (college scouting director) and Rob Lohman (pro scouting director) on staff, with select other scouts from Quinn’s regime remaining in place, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Newmark turned down an offer to join Scott Fitterer‘s Panthers front office, per Birkett. Both Newmark, who has been with the Lions for nearly 25 years, and Lohman, who joined the Lions in 2007, interviewed for the Lions’ GM job that went to Holmes.
  • Holmes did hire some new personnel. Former Panthers and Texans exec Mike Martin will join the Lions as director of scouting advancement, while ex-Miami Hurricanes football ops director Don Corzine is now in Detroit as a senior advisor. These two join John Dorsey and assistant GM Ray Agnew as key new arrivals under Holmes.
  • Going into his third season with the Ravens, Nick Matteo will rise to the position of director of football administration. Matteo, who worked in the league office for 10 years, will be involved with the Ravens’ salary cap. Additionally, Andrew Raphael will rise from an area scout to a national scouting role.
  • Browns assistant coach Callie Brownson was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated last month, 92.3 The Fan’s Daryl Ruiter tweets. Brownson pleaded guilty to the charge, and the Browns suspended her. However, Kevin Stefanski said Brownson will be back for training camp. Currently working as the team’s chief of staff, Brownson became the first woman to coach a position group during a regular-season NFL game — when the team’s COVID-19 outbreak led to her coaching wide receivers and tight ends in separate games last season.