NFC West: Chris Culmer

The Arizona Cardinals grew their coaching staff earlier this offseason. Now, the team's personnel department is growing, too.

Ownership appears to be arming new coach Bruce Arians and new general manager Steve Keim with greater resources overall, including a $4.2 million indoor practice facility now in the works.

The chart shows the 15 personnel evaluators on the Cardinals' staff, with asterisks identifying those new to the team this offseason. That number, which excludes administrative staff, should rank near the top for NFC West teams.

It's tough to know how much money each team allocates for its coaching and scouting staff. Teams sometimes add positions at lower cost. Arians indicated the Cardinals were doing that with a couple coaching positions.

Scouting departments are often in flux this time of year as teams refocus following the draft.

Eastern Regional scout Terry McDonough, Midwestern scout John Mancini and two scouting assistatnts, Glen Fox and Darius Vinnett, are new to the team. Former Denver Broncos fullback Kyle Johnson, who had been with the scouting department since 2010, is not returning.

Mancini spent the last 18 seasons with the St. Louis Rams. He joins McDonough (former San Francisco 49ers intern), Chris Culmer (formerly a Seattle Seahawks scout), Josh Scobey (former Seahawks and Cardinals player) and Vinnett (former Rams player) as Arizona scouts with experience elsewhere in the division.

McDonough comes to the Cardinals after 10 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, most recently as player personnel director. One of his brothers, Ryan, is the Phoenix Suns' GM. Another, Sean, is an ESPN sportscaster.
NFL coaching and scouting can be itinerant work.

The San Francisco 49ers' announcement Wednesday that they had made promotions within their scouting department brought into focus crossover within the division.

Matt Malaspina, promoted to college scouting director after eight seasons with the team, previously spent five years with the Seattle Seahawks. Mike Williams, promoted to director of pro personnel, spent the 2009 through 2011 seasons with the St. Louis Rams.

Last offseason, the Seahawks announced Todd Brunner's hiring as an area scout. He had been with the 49ers from 2001 through 2011. The Seahawks in 2010 hired former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan as a top assistant to their own GM, John Schneider, who previously worked with the 49ers' current GM, Trent Baalke, with the Washington Redskins.

One of the Arizona Cardinals' scouts, Chris Culmer, worked previously for the Seahawks.

Teams usually wait til after the draft to make changes to their scouting department.

The changes San Francisco announced followed Tom Gamble's departure to the Philadelphia Eagles in February. Gamble had been the 49ers' director of player personnel, reporting directly to Baalke. The 49ers promoted Joel Patten to fill Gamble's role. Patten previously was director of college scouting.
There's a New England Patriots flavor to the Arizona Cardinals' front office.

Player personnel director Jason Licht and newly hired director of football administration Mike Disner both have Patriots ties.



The Cardinals announced Disner's hiring Wednesday. They also announced a previously known addition: Debbie Pollom, the St. Louis Rams' director of scouting administration, was hired as executive assistant.

Licht was a Patriots scout beginning in 1999, one year before Bill Belichick's arrival as head coach. He remained with the team and was promoted under Belichick before leaving to join the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003. Licht left the Eagles for the Cardinals in 2008, then rejoined Belichick and the Patriots for three seasons before landing in Arizona a year ago.

Disner had spent two seasons with the Patriots as an intern before graduating from Williams College with an economics degree in 2007. The Patriots hired him as a scouting assistant in 2007. Disner has spent the past four years working on the NFL Management Council, most recently as labor operations manager.

Disner's hiring isn't earth-shattering news in the NFC West. But as the Cardinals continue to remake themselves in the post-Rod Graves era, it's useful to note commonalities among some of the people hired to the front office. The team promoted Steve Keim to replace Graves as general manager this offseason. Licht also received a promotion.

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