Thu, 28 Jan 2021

Falcons GM search: Five things to know about Rick Smith

Atlanta Falcons
26 Nov 2020, 17:57 GMT+10

An in-depth look at what the Falcons could be getting in former Texans general manager Rick Smith Will McFadden

The Atlanta Falcons are conducting a thorough search to find their next general manager.

Team president and CEO Rich McKay is primarily overseeing the search and will consult trusted advisors before he and Falcons owner Arthur Blank reach a decision. It's unclear exactly how long this process will take, but there are already some candidates who have been linked to the Falcons.

Atlanta Falcons GM Tracker

Click below for a collection of names being reported as candidates for the Atlanta Falcons' open general manager position


As Atlanta continues to go about its search, we'll compile some of the more notable facts and information about each candidate reportedly in the running for the Falcons' opening.

Rick Smith

Key NFL roles

Smith became the youngest general manager in the NFL at the age of 36 when the Houston Texans appointed him the job in 2006. Smith served in that role through the 2017 season, after which he left the team to be with his wife, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Smith has also previously served on the NFL's Competition Committee, which is led by McKay, and oversaw the most successful run in the Texans' history. Smith also served as the Denver Broncos director of pro personnel from 2000-05.

Notable players acquired during time with team

Houston Texans

DE J.J. Watt - via draft WR DeAndre Hopkins - via draft QB Deshaun Watson - via draft DE Jadeveon Clowney - via draft CB A.J. Bouye - via college free agency RB Arian Foster - via college free agency DE Mario Williams - via draft QB Matt Schaub - via trade RB Lamar Miller - via free agency C Chris Myers - via trade LB Benardrick McKinney - via draft LB DeMeco Ryans - via draft OT Eric Winston - via draft WR Will Fuller - via draft TE Owen Daniels - via draft

Overall team success while in prominent role

Houston Texans (2006-17)

Record: 92-100 (.479) Best season: 2012 (12-4 record, won AFC South, lost divisional round) Pro Bowlers: 39 J.J. Watt named 2012, 2014 and 2015 Defensive Player of the Year

Other notable information

Prior to assuming the role of director of pro personnel with the Broncos, Smith served as the team's assistant defensive backs coach. In that role, he oversaw one of the league's top units and won two Super Bowl rings. A former player himself, Smith was a strong safety and team captain during his college career at Purdue. After his playing career, Smith became the youngest full-time position coach in the Big Ten when he was hired as Purdue's secondary coach at the age of 24.

Telling quote

"It always is best player available. It's vitally important, in my opinion, to the success of consistent drafting to distinguish between need and value. I think when you set your board, you set your board according to value and where you see it, players' abilities and capabilities to perform. If you can get a player at a corresponding value in a round that's a position of need... that's the ideal scenario and situation." - Rick Smith via

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