Jared Kirksey

NFL Front Office Rumors: Bears, Panthers, Falcons, Titans, Cowboys

A number of teams have made some recent adjustments to their front office staff. The Bears are one of those teams, making adjustments to both their scouting and analytics staffs, according to Courtney Cronin of ESPN.

On the scouting side, Chicago named Drew Raucina as an area scout and Ryan Weese as a combine scout. Raucina was previously the team’s combine scout. He’s been with the Bears since 2018, starting as a scouting assistant and working his way up. Weese moves into the newly open combine scout role after joining the staff last year as a scouting assistant. Before coming to Chicago, Weese held a role at Montana State.

In analytics, the Bears announced¬†Ryan Hubley as a football research analyst. Hubley joined the team last year as a football systems developer working under director of football analytics Krithi Chandrakasan. It sounds like he’ll remain in that department in an adjusted role.

Here are a few other front office changes from around the league:

  • The Panthers are another one of the above-mentioned teams, making several adjustments to their scouting staff, according to Panthers staff writer Darin Gantt. After coming to Carolina two years ago from Washington as the new director of college scouting, Cole Spencer has been promoted to director of player personnel, where he’ll work alongside recently hired vice president of player personnel Adrian Wilson, who will focus on pro scouting while Spencer retains his focus on college scouting. Former assistant director of college scouting Jared Kirksey will fill Spencer’s old role as college scouting director. Kirksey joined the team in 2021 as an area scout. Formerly the Southwest scout, Eli Montague will now cover the Southeast area, with Corey Fuller moving from the West area to cover the Southwest. Scouting intern Caden McCloughan and scouting assistant Jordan Trgovac have been promoted to area scouts, and former safety Juston Burris will be a scouting intern for the team this year. McCloughan will cover the West and Trgovac the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Two Falcons scouts will be changing roles this year, according to Neil Stratton of SucceedinFootball.com. Former player personnel coordinator Rushell Harvey will now serve as the team’s Northeast area scout. Additionally, Ben Martinez, who has worked as a scout for the BLESTO service, will now be a pro scout for Atlanta. Both joined the Falcons in 2021. Lastly, Stratton also informs us that the team has parted ways with Peniel Jean, Atlanta’s former pro scout. Jean joined the team in 2017 and had served his most recent role for four years.
  • The Titans will have a new name atop their analytics department after hiring Sarah Bailey as director of football research and development. Bailey comes over from Los Angeles, where she started in 2017 as a football analyst for the Rams before being promoted to manager – football analytics in 2020.
  • Lastly, the Cowboys have added a new name to their front office, as well. After serving as director of football research for the Colts since 2016, John Park heads to Dallas to serve as director of strategic football operations, according to ESPN’s Seth Walder.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Panthers, Bucs

After trading down twice in Round 2, the Panthers planned to select BYU tackle Brady Christensen at No. 60 and add LSU wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. with a subsequent trade-up shortly after. However, the Saints eyed Marshall at No. 60, Darin Gantt of Panthers.com notes, prompting the Panthers to change course and select Marshall earlier than initially planned. Carolina drafted Marshall at No. 59, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The Saints then took Ohio State linebacker Pete Werner at 60. Marshall, who now joins Panthers vets D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, played a key role for LSU’s national championship team alongside Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase and last season after those future first-rounders left. He totaled 23 touchdown grabs from 2019-20. New Orleans cut No. 2 receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason and has been unable to find a steady complement for Michael Thomas¬†for a few years. The team still has Tre’Quan Smith, who is entering a contract year, and used a seventh-round pick on a wideout (South Alabama’s Kawann Baker). The Panthers ended up getting Christensen at No. 70, trading up three spots to land him.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Prior to the Bears trading up to No. 11 and selecting Justin Fields, they called the Panthers about the No. 8 choice, Gantt adds. While the Panthers discussed trading down with a few teams before the draft, the Bears called during Round 1. Carolina ultimately decided moving down 12 spots, to Chicago’s No. 20 slot, was too much. The Panthers selected cornerback Jaycee Horn in Round 1. The Broncos aided the Bears’ quarterback quest a pick later, taking Patrick Surtain II over Fields.
  • This draft profiled as one of the weakest for defensive tackles in recent memory, and the class ended up influencing the Buccaneers to retain veterans at the position. While the Super Bowl champions completed a stunning effort of keeping their team together, GM Jason Licht said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine) the thin D-tackle class moved the team to re-sign Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon and Rakeem Nunez-Roches earlier this offseason. The Bucs did not draft a defensive tackle this year.
  • The Saints are reuniting with C.J. Leak, a staffer who once worked as their Combine scout. The Texans dismissed Leak as their assistant director of pro personnel in February, but veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson tweets Leak will return to the Saints. Houston hired Leak in 2018. Leak previously spent two years with New Orleans.
  • Staying on the scouting subject, the Panthers are adding Jared Kirksey to their scouting staff, Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com tweets. Kirksey was previously on the Jaguars’ staff and has previously worked as a Bucs and Texans scout.