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Getting to Know a GM: Doug Whaley

Read about more possible GM candidates here.

Doug Whaley is the Pro Personnel Director for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chiefs' owner Clark Hunt said he admires the Steelers' organization which is a reason why Whaley should be considered a candidate for the Chiefs' GM job.

Whaley is homegrown talent for the Steelers. He played high school football in Western PA and went on to play four years at Pitt. He's been with the Steelers for 11 years.

Whaley's current job entails a lot of player evaluation:

During the season, mostly I'm the advance scout for the coaches, so during the week I'll break down the film of the opponent -- not their plays, but their players: the good points, the weak points and the summary of how they played. During the weekend, I'll go out and do some colleges.

His position places an emphasis on the draft which is one of the biggest reasons for the Steelers' success. They rarely miss on a player because of the abilities of guys like Whaley.

Considering his background with a team like the Steelers' who are always near the top of the league in defense, I'm particularly excited about the prospects of landing Whaley. Our defense is so underwhelming so someone who has success in crafting a top defense is important. The Steelers rarely miss on draft picks, especially on defense which is in direct contrast to the Chiefs for the last 8 years.

Pittsburgh does not draft more for defense than other teams. In fact, they probably draft for defense less. Since 2000, Pittsburgh has drafted for defense on just 30 out of 69 picks — or 43 percent. If you take the top three rounds, the Steelers have drafted for defense 50 percent — 13 of 26 — since 2000. They draft well, so they don’t have to keep re-tracing their steps on defense.

Whaley may not be the sole decision maker on all things draft related, but he's a major component of an organization that contains all of the elements Clark Hunt is looking for: Culture of winning and Stability. The scouts and personnel guys, like Whaley, focus their concentration on finding players that fit the Steelers' scheme which, as BigBlueShoe argued, is important to drafting success.

If Whaley is hired, I hope he sets up an organization structure like the Steelers. Their current structure is based so that the head coach, personnel director and director of business have an equal say along with Chairman Dan Rooney. Doing something like this would be the type of front office overhaul that many have been calling for.

Does he fit Clark Hunt's expectations for a new GM?

  • "Shrewd Evaluator Of Talent" - Yes. He has worked in an environment that places an emphasis on the draft and has demonstrated an ability to be successful that way.
  • Experience With Winning Teams - Yes. The Steelers don't have a rebuilding period like other teams. They are constantly dropping dead weight and adding new talent.
  • Strong Leader - Up for debate. Since Whaley keeps a relatively low-profile, we can't determine his ability to lead (which is actually a very important aspect when you're being placed in an executive role).
  • Effective Communicator - Up for debate. However, it's promising that he's worked in a culture that emphasized equal voices in the organization.
  • Blends Into The Chiefs Culture - Up for debate. Although it appears to be an isolated incident, Whaley sent an e-mail to a member of the Steelers' organization that included some sort of porn. That email was then accidentally forwarded to multiple high level team employees and even Commissioner Goodell.
  • Someone Outside The Organization -Yes.

Whaley fits nearly all the criteria set forth by Clark Hunt. His experience with a successful organization that places an emphasis on the draft and has a history of success with defensive personnel makes Whaley an attractive candidate for the Chiefs' GM job.

Besides, how else are we going to get Cowher in here?