The Falcons have been linked to a number of candidates for their general manager job already, ranging from former Texans GM Rick Smith to former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. Those candidates have differing levels of experience, but all of them are in a team front office in some capacity today.
All, that is, except Louis Riddick. Per The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz, Riddick is a candidate in Atlanta, something that our own Eric Robinson has stumped for and various NFL talking heads have indicated was a possibility for teams with general manager openings this offseason.
ESPN commentator and former Washington and Philadelphia pro personnel director Louis Riddick is among a list of candidates for Falcons' GM job, according to sources. Riddick, who played for the Falcons in 1992 and '96, has interviewed for other GM jobs in past. @TheAthleticNFL— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) December 7, 2020
Riddick has an interesting and varied background. A 9th round pick in 1991, he was a safety who played in 94 games from 1992-1998, piling up 155 tackles, 2 sacks, and a safety in a part-time role. He spent the 1992 season with the Falcons and eventually transitioned into scouting, spending four seasons as a scout with Washington before moving into their director of player personnel role in 2005, where he would spend three years. The Eagles picked him up in 2008 and he worked his way up in that organization, settling in as their director of player personnel from 2010-2013. He would later join ESPN as an analyst, including for Monday Night Football broadcasts, and that’s where he is currently.
A quick glance at Philadelphia’s draft history during those years reveals a mixed bag. The Eagles landed Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, and Dion Lewis between 2010 and 2011 before absolutely drilling the 2012 class, where they landed Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry, Nick Foles and Dennis Kelly in the same class. The 2013 class brought aboard Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz, but there were plenty of shaky picks in all four of those. It’s hard to know how much credit to give Riddick, but certainly there were some impressive pieces picked up by a team he was a prominent personnel voice for.
Riddick is well-regarded in league circles—at least from what we’ve seen and heard—and has a bright football mind and over a decade of personnel experience in his favor. What he does not have is any experience in that capacity since 2013, as well as any experience as the general manager of an NFL team, unlike some of the candidates he’s going to be competing against for the Falcons jobs and other openings he may interview for. The Falcons will need to be convinced he’s the best evaluator and leader of the bunch to hire him, but he is at minimum an interesting and worthy candidate for the role.
And hey, he wants to move back to Atlanta!
Used to live there and loved it. Hated when we left. Always thought we would return to live there some day.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) November 2, 2020
The Falcons now have a candidate list I genuinely like, and that’s with only five or so names that have leaked out. We’ll see if Riddick winds up being the guy, but for a team that really needs to nail this coming offseason full of decisions, a good general manager list is at the very least a strong start.