Per Vaughn McClure at ESPN, one new piece of the Falcons' personnel puzzle might be falling into place, though nothing has been confirmed a day after the team parted ways with Lionel Vital.
Could change in Atlanta include the addition of former Bears GM Phil Emery? https://t.co/hFMFo5lqbS— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) January 18, 2016
Now the relevant piece:
Emery, who was fired by the Bears following the 2014 campaign, made at least two cameo appearances with the Falcons in 2015. He walked off the field alongside the players and coaches after an Aug. 13 practice. Emery also attended at least one Falcons home game, taking notes while sitting in the front row of the press box, just a few seats away from ESPN.com.
This may seem like guesswork, but I doubt it is. A former NFL GM hanging around a team that's now reshuffling its personnel department likely means that Emery will be brought aboard in some capacity, in my humble opinion.
Emery actually has a rich history with the Falcons, serving as the team's director of scouting from 2004-2008, and then the Eastern Regional Scout from 2008-2009 before latching on with the Chiefs. It's worth noting that he was hired by Rich McKay originally, and McKay still has a lot of clout within this organization.
Emery eventually found himself as the general manager of the Chicago Bears, where he turned in some solid free agent classes and some very, very mediocre draft classes from 2012-2014. Alshon Jeffery was a tremendous selection and Lamarr Houston was a sneaky good free agent signing, but a lot of the players he acquired either aren't on the Bears now or are abjectly not good. The Falcons, of course, are familiar with his history and are likely prizing his experience, familiarity with the organization, and previous successes if they do add him.
My hunch is that Emery will not replace Vital, but it appears the Falcons may be intent on adding a lot of former big-time decision makers to the mix in their new-look personnel department. Once we see the fully assembled personnel and scouting structure in action, I'm hopeful we'll all be happy, and the Falcons will be much better for it. The jury will be out until we see what the team actually does.