The 49ers are beginning their search for a general manager this week and it sounds like they want to have an answer in the next week or so in order to quickly get started on the search for a new head coach. The first candidate to emerge is former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist. Given the importance of this position in the eventual re-birth of the 49ers, we'll have informational type posts about each of the candidates that emerge. Depending on how quickly this process occurs we might also have posts about some potential candidates that haven't emerged yet. We'll play it by ear.
Ted Sundquist is currently operating as Director of Player Personnel for the Omaha Nighthawks in the UFL. You can view his resume at LinkedIn, but here is his resume to date. I've bolded his significant player personnel jobs:
2010 Director of Player Personnel, Omaha Nighthawks UFL
2010 College Gameday Analyst - The Mtn. Comcast TV
2008-10 USAFA Athletic Foundation Board
2008-10 President/GM Advisory Board, Sports World Access
2008 WSCR 670 "The Score" & SportsUSA Net
2008 ProFootballTalk.com - Feature Writer
2002-08 Denver Broncos Football Club - General Manager
1995-02 Denver Broncos Football Club - Dir of College Scting
1992-95 Denver Broncos Football Club - Personnel Asst
1990-92 USAFA Prep - Head Football Coach
1988-90 USAFA - JV Offensive Coordinator, Varsity Asst
1985-88 USAF 6912 ESG, Berlin, GE - Training Officer
1985-88 USAF 6912 ESG, Berlin, GE - Flight Commander
1984-85 USAFA - 2LT Graduate Asst - Football
The most random bit of information about Sundquist is that he was a member of the 1984-88 Olympic bobsled team.
Ted Sundquist runs a website called Extreme Football Management. The site provides a breakdown of some of his various duties while with the Broncos:
Ted Sundquist held supervisory responsibility over all the departments and support personnel that comprised the Football Operations Division of the Broncos. That included but was not limited to Pro and College Scouting, Salary Cap/Contract Analysis, Video & Football Technologies, Equipment, Training & Medical Personnel, Operations, Turf Management and Training Camp. He assisted the Executive Vice President of Football Operations with establishing and modifying policies and practices within these departments and also made decisions involving the compliance of League-imposed salary caps and rookie pool limitations. He was directly involved in the personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the annual College Draft, trades and terminations. He served as the primary negotiator for the club over his tenure as GM.
The problem in evaluating Sundquist is that he came part and parcel with Mike Shanahan. The two worked closely together for many years and the eventual breakup was due in part to the fact that Shanahan had the power and Sundquist did not. I mean that in the sense that when things started struggling for the Broncos, Shanahan decided a change was needed and he had the power to remove Sundquist from his position.
How do we then evaluate Sundquist? While he was technically general manager, he seemed to serve at the deference of Mike Shanahan. A while back when discussing kickers in the comments of a thread I mentioned to somebody that they should read A Few Seconds of Panic. A reporter went in to Broncos training camp as a kicker and wrote about his experience. He interviewed most everybody in the organization and that included then GM Ted Sundquist, the year before Sundquist was fired. In the book he mentions that most GMs viewed Sundquist as a sort of quasi-GM because of the role Shanahan held with the team. At the same time, people felt Sundquist had as much power as any GM Shanahan had hired.
During Sundquist's time as GM, the Broncos were 58-38 and won one division title and two wild card berths. While he was director of college scouting the team won two Super Bowls with two division titles and two wildcard berths. I post these results for informational purposes because as mentioned above, it's difficult to sort through the records considering the dynamic Sundquist held with Shanahan.
I spoke briefly over g-chat with John Bena from Mile High Report. If Sundquist does come in and officially interview, I'll get some more formulated thoughts on him. I had initially emailed John with this:
Ted Sundquist has emerged as the first candidate for the 49ers GM job. I've done some searching at MHR but was wondering if you had thoughts on Sundquist at this point? The problem I see in evaluating him is that he appeared to be connected at the hip with Shanahan so it's hard to tell who was responsible for what at the end of the day.
Here is our subsequent brief chat:
John: You are right about Sundquist and Shanahan. Sundquist was more the Cap guy, with Shanny doing more of the personnel. As Shanny got more and more paranoid, he relied less and less on Sundquist. I firmly believe that the real reason the Broncos are where they are today is due to the horrible drafting from 2000-2005. That said, he was a big part of bringing 2 Super Bowls to Denver as well...
Fooch: How much did Sundquist deal with the draft when he was director of college scouting. I mean that in terms of what Shanahan was doing on his own
John: Well, that's the big question. Sundquist has admitted that the Broncos strategy, when they were winning, was wrong. They would target positions of need and reach to fill them in the Draft instead of getting the BPA Marcus Nash, Willie Middlebrooks, George Foster are examples All first round busts. And like I have said to Broncos fans who talk about him coming back - there is a reason he hasn't seen another opportunity. But it is unfair to completely judge him, since Shanny had all the control If he is judged solely on the Broncos drafts when he was there, the final grade wouldn't be good.
I flipped back through A Few Seconds of Panic and when I found comments on Sundquist (around page 160 or 161 of the paperback edition), he seemed to qualify as the good soldier who worked well within Shanahan's structure. Sundquist graduated from the Air Force Academy so that certainly makes sense given the ideals of following orders in the military. However, one has to wonder if that's the kind of person the 49ers want running their whole operation. There have been a ton of great military leaders over time, but not everybody has the necessary skills to be a leader. I don't mean that to be criticism because not everybody can be the number one guy in charge. However, if the 49ers are looking for somebody to lead this re-birth as the GM, I find myself a bit hesitant with regards to Ted Sundquist.
In the meantime, over at nfl.com you can break down drafts by team and sort it out over the years. Ted Sundquist was director of college scouting from 1995-2002. I don't know the exact months so the 1995 draft might have happened before he was promoted to the director position.
|2002 - Denver Broncos|
|2||51||Clinton Portis||RB||Miami (Fla.)|
|3||96||Dorsett Davis||DT||Mississippi State|
|4||131||Sam Brandon||DB||Nevada-Las Vegas|
|5||144||Herb Haygood||WR||Michigan State|
|6||191||Jeb Putzier||TE||Boise State|
|7||228||Chris Young||DB||Georgia Tech|
|2001 - Denver Broncos|
|3||87||Reggie Hayward||DE||Iowa State|
|2000 - Denver Broncos|
|3||70||Chris Cole||WR||Texas A&M|
|4||101||Jerry Johnson||DT||Florida State|
|7||214||Jarious Jackson||QB||Notre Dame|
|7||246||Leroy Fields||--||Jackson State|
|1999 - Denver Broncos|
|2||58||Montae Reagor||DE||Texas Tech|
|3||67||Chris Watson||CB||Eastern Illinois|
|5||158||David Bowens||LB||Western Illinois|
|5||167||Darwin Brown||DB||Texas Tech|
|6||179||Desmond Clark||TE||Wake Forest|
|7||238||Justin Swift||TE||Kansas State|
|1998 - Denver Broncos|
|2||61||Eric Brown||SS||Mississippi State|
|1997 - Denver Broncos|
|4||124||Cory Gilliard||DB||Ball State|
|1996 - Denver Broncos|
|2||44||Tory James||DB||Louisiana State|
|3||65||Detron Smith||RB||Texas A&M|
|4||100||Jeff Lewis||QB||Northern Arizona|
|1995 - Denver Broncos|
|4||121||Jamie Brown||T||Florida A&M|
|4||124||Ken Brown||LB||Virginia Tech|
|5||146||Phil Yeboah-Kodie||LB||Penn State|
|7||218||Steve Russ||LB||Air Force|
|7||222||Byron Chamberlain||WR||Wayne State (Neb.)|