Buccaneers General Manager search: Ballard, Brown, Ross, Vital among finalists

Jeff Griffith-US PRESSWIRE

Giants Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross joins Ballard, Brown and Vital as finalists in general manager search, according to Ian Rapaport

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapaport, the Buccaneers are now at the stage of "whittling" down the candidates for their next general manager. Rapaport singled out four specific candidates, three we've already heard mentioned - Kansas City's Chris Ballard, Washington's Morocco Brown and Atlanta's Lionel Vital - and a new name, Marc Ross of the Giants.

Presumably, this means other names that have been floated as candidates - Jerry Angelo, Tim Ruskell and, bizarrely, Rich McKay - are no longer in the running for the position. Rappaport's tweet did not make it clear if Ballard, Brown and Vital are the only candidates remaining for the vacant GM position.

Marc Ross (not to be confused with the Sex and the City costume designer of the same name) first surfaced as a candidate last night when Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports tweeted that the Bucs had requested permission to interview him. As per Tom Rock of Newsday (via Pro Football Talk), they have no been granted permission to interview Ross.

Originally a college scout with the Eagles and the Bills, Ross was the Giants' director of college scouting for six years before being promoted to "Vice President of Player Evaluation", a post which, according to the Giants' website, saw him in charge of both the team's college scouting department and, more importantly, their draft. The Giants credit him with finding Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara, among other players. According to Rock, Ross is also a candidate to replace Jeff Ireland in Miami.

It's interesting to compare these four candidates. Ballard and Brown both come from a pro scouting and personnel background; Ross and Vital rose up from the college scouting side. Brown and Ross have both been interviewed for general manager positions in previous offseasons, Brown with the Redskins, Ross with the Panthers among others. Neither Ballard nor Vital appeared to have interviewed for GM vacancies before. Both Ballard and Brown were in Chicago when Lovie Smith was head coach; the other two haven't worked with Smith before.

It appears that the Glazers are not only taking a longer time over hiring their general manager, but are looking at a wider field of candidates, than they did over their head coaching hire.

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