It appears that Brad Holmes and Terry Fontenot will be the two finalists for Atlanta’s General Manager job with Rich McKay’s old buddy and former Texans GM Rick Smith still in the mix. Personally, Holmes is my top choice, but I think Fontenot has a fantastic chance at landing the job based on what he has done in New Orleans over the last decade-plus. I broke down some Pros & Cons of Fontenot as a GM here. So what makes Holmes such an enticing candidate?
Good record scouting college talent
This is the most obvious. Since being named the Director of Scouting in 2013, the Rams have gone from a laughing stock to a Super Bowl threat. This guy was part of the scouting team that took a gamble on one of the three greatest defensive players of all time, a stocky defensive lineman named Aaron Donald out of Pittsburgh. The Jalen Ramsey trade and others have paid off, but Holmes has made the most of the limited picks they’ve gotten after trading so many away. On top of Donald, Holmes helped the Rams draft (prime) Todd Gurley, Tyler Higbee, John Johnson, Josh Reynolds, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Cam Akers, and plenty of other guys who were part of the 2018 Super Bowl team. He’s found talent all over the board, and with a team as cap-strapped as Atlanta, that will be crucial over the next few seasons.
Combination of experience, character, & youth
Using this quote from an article released by Will McFadden of the Falcons, Holmes seems to be pretty poised:
Holmes has spent the entirety of his 18-year career in the NFL with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. He began as a public relations intern in 2003 with the desire to move into scouting. Holmes accomplished that goal the following year and became a scouting assistant in 2004. Working his way up the ranks, Holmes worked as a national combine scout, area scout and national scout before becoming the director of college scouting in 2013.
“So, I was a scouting assistant, and I tried to be the best scouting assistant. I want to get the coffee the fastest, I want to make the best profile tape possible, and all of that. When I was an area scout, I wanted to be the best at that. You know what I mean? So I never really looked ahead. Opportunities — all of them blessings — have landed on me, and I’ve just kind of earned my way to where I am now.”
“When you get to that stage, that’s when you really have to start dialing into preparing [to be a GM] if you’re ever blessed and fortunate enough to be in that chair. That’s an ultimate goal for sure. It takes time and it takes luck, too. You just try to make as much of both as you can with hard work and preparation along the way.” – Brad Holmes to Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports
Holmes is only 41 and seems to have a good mix of age and experience for a General Manager
Everyone loves a hometown guy. Holmes was actually an intern for the Atlanta Hawks back in the day, and the former HBCU National Champion at NC A&T knows this city well. I think the fans would embrace him more than Terry Fontenot. While Fontenot is very qualified, a lifetime Saint would probably have a shorter leash and less trust from the fans. It may not sound important, but with a damaged fanbase like the Falcons, I promise it does. Maybe he could get his old buddy Sean McVay to come on home? (I’m joking, sort of…)
Brandon Staley connection
I like Brandon Staley a lot, and I think it’s crazy Atlanta didn’t submit an initial request to interview him. Now the Falcons must wait until the playoff run for LA is over, and hopefully, it isn’t anytime soon. Staley could certainly bide his time to wait for an interview with Holmes.
New Orleans doesn’t get draft picks
This is just me being petty. The Saints get two third-round compensatory picks for losing a minority candidate. With as cap-strapped as they are, it would be nice to hit them where it hurts, in the pockets.