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Monday, January 28, 2013
Grigson, not Schneider, named top exec

By Mike Sando

NEW ORLEANS -- Executives throughout the NFL would happily trade places with Super Bowl general managers Trent Baalke (San Francisco) and Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore).

Neither prevailed in voting among peers for the Sporting News' award honoring the top executive for the 2012 season. That distinction went to Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson, who turned over most of the team's roster and went 11-5 with a rookie quarterback.

AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky and I were among those voting for Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider in a separate poll. Schneider narrowly prevailed in that one.

My thinking at the time:
"I voted for Schneider because I thought the moves Seattle made required more skill and foresight. [Denver's John] Elway and Grigson did more than simply acquire Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, of course. But without those moves, neither would factor into the discussion. Those were moves 99 percent of fantasy football general managers would have made.

"Schneider and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll found quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round and started him when conventional wisdom called for going with Matt Flynn. They bucked convention again when using a first-round choice for pass-rusher Bruce Irvin (eight sacks). They found a defensive rookie of the year candidate in second-round linebacker Bobby Wagner. One starting guard is seventh-round choice J.R. Sweezy, a player line coach Tom Cable converted from the defensive line.

"Schneider and Carroll pulled off the personnel equivalent of Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard run through New Orleans' defense in the playoffs a couple years ago. Elway and Grigson made moves equating to 20-yard touchdown passes. All three plays would net six points, but some touchdowns are more impressive than others."