The San Francisco 49ers hired John Lynch to be their next general manager in spite of the fact that he has no experience in personnel. Well, almost no experience, I suppose.
Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that there had been some thought in Denver that Lynch could eventually be a candidate to replace John Elway down the road. Of course, that would likely have required experience working up the chain of command. But, Lynch did have a very brief experience in personnel. Back in 2013, the Denver Post reported on Lynch joining the Broncos in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. He apparently was there to help evaluate defensive backs.
That’s obviously incredibly limited experience. Even coupled with his evaluation of talent while serving as a FOX NFL broadcaster, it is minimal at best. But if you want to look at this from a glass half full perspective, the GM job is not always focused on the talent evaluation. That’s not to say any random schmoe can handle it, but different GMs engage the role in different ways. Talent evaluation is part of the job, but depending on the staff surrounding the GM, communication skills, delegation skills, and other broader leadership skills can be the kind of thing that can lead to some measure of success.
Right now, John Elway and Matt Millen are the two extremes on the measurement of former player success as an NFL GM. It is hard for me to see Lynch being as bad a GM as Millen, in part because he always sounded smarter on TV than Millen ever did. That doesn’t mean a whole lot of much, but as I grasp for some kind of reason to be optimistic, I can go with that for now. That does not mean he will emerge as the next great GM, but it’s something to go with for the time being.
Right now, we have a mostly blank slate with regard to Lynch. He was a great player, potentially a Hall of Famer, and he was a decent TV analyst. Odds would not seem to be in his favor for this to work out well, but maybe we get surprised. I talked about the idea that even a blind squirrel can find a nut. We now get to wait and see if York stumbled across a nut.