A word on GM hires as Keim announced

January, 8, 2013
1/08/13
3:35
PM ET
The initial reaction was negative or at least underwhelming, as I recall, when the San Francisco 49ers named future NFL executive of the year Trent Baalke as their general manager following the 2010 season.

Baalke was not a big name. He was not new to the team. His hiring did not appear to signal a titanic shift away from the past.

Baalke subsequently played a leading role in Jim Harbaugh's hiring as head coach. Some of his draft choices became stars. He has already signed a contract extension.

John Schneider's hiring as the Seattle Seahawks' GM before the 2010 season also lacked sizzle. Schneider was not a big name. He was young. Like Baalke, he had never been a GM before, so there was no easily identifiable track record to examine.

Schneider is a leading candidate to become executive of the year this season. An ESPN panel voted him its top executive already.

There were no parades in St. Louis, either, when the Rams hired Les Snead as GM last offseason. It's too early to judge Snead's record in the role, but his initial draft class made an immediate positive impact. The team secured multiple No. 1 draft choices in a blockbuster trade that could set up the Rams for years to come.

These points seemed relevant Tuesday as the Arizona Cardinals promoted Steve Keim to their GM job from his previous post as vice president of player personnel. We don't know enough about Keim to say whether he'll excel in the role. But as Baalke and Schneider have shown and as Snead still might show, good GM hires aren't always exciting ones.

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