Continuing our coverage of possible GM candidates for the Kansas City Chiefs, we come to Baltimore Ravens Director of Pro Personnel George Kokinis. You can read about all of the candidates we've covered here.
Kokinis has been the Ravens Director of Pro Personnel for 5 years, which means, as his bio states, that he "works closely with GM Ozzie Newsome in analyzing NFL rosters and coordinating and evaluating each year’s free agency market." Eric DeCosta, the Ravens Director of College Scouting and a GM candidate we've reviewed, also works closely with closely with Newsome and Kokinis.
Kokinis' career has involved a lot of player scouting and general football scouting. From 1991 to 1995, he was a scout for the Cleveland Browns. In 1996, Kokinis moved with the Browns' franchise to Baltimore, where he served as the Northeast area scout. He was a scout for three years before becoming the assistant director of pro personnel, in which he delivered scouting reports on the Ravens' opponents each week.
For the first ten years or so of his career, George Kokinis was involved in all aspects of scouting- college player scouting, free agent scouting and advanced reporting on the schemes and players of upcoming opponents.
In other words, Kokinis knows football talent at all levels of the game.
If he didn't know talent, Kokinis would have never made Director of Pro Personnel for the Ravens in 2003.
Free Agency and Contract Negotiations
Currently, Eric DeCosta does a lot of the college scouting work and Kokinis is mainly involved in free agency acquisitions and contract negotiations. From his bio, here are a list of his key accomplishments over the last couple of years:
- Ravens acquired Pro Bowl alternate RB Willis McGahee from the Bills in exchange for future draft choices
- Team retained OLB Jarret Johnson
- Negotiated the contracts of draft picks S Dawan Landry (5th round) and DE Ryan LaCasse (7th round)
- Ravens acquired QB Steve McNair in exchange for an ‘07 draft pick
- Re-signed OLB Bart Scott
- Signed a number of significant free agent contributors: DE Trevor Pryce, who led the team with 13 sacks, RB Mike Anderson, DT Justin Bannan, CB Corey Ivy and OLB Gary Stills.
Kokinis hasn't made any career defining free agent moves in my opinion but that's also partly because he hasn't necessarily had to do that. The Ravens rarely miss on 1st day picks.
Naturally, Kokinis, Newsome and DeCosta are all making decisions on the draft, so we can't really pin anything tangible on Kokinis, except to say that he's part of a great drafting team.
Negotiation Track Record
So, if Kokinis is mainly involved in free agency and contract negotiations, how do we measure his success?
One way is to see how effective Kokinis is at signing his draft picks in time for training camp. Let's take a look at how he did.
In 2008, training camp opened on July 22nd and Kokinis had all ten Raven draft picks signed by that date. First round choice QB Joe Flacco signed the week before. Also, DE Terrell Suggs held out of training camp to protest his franchise tag tender. Suggs returned by the beginning of the regular season though.
In 2007, the team reported to camp for the first practice on July 30th and Kokinis had all seven of his draft picks signed in the two weeks leading up to leaving for camp.
In 2006, Kokinis again had all ten draft picks in camp on time.
2005 training camp saw some bad luck for the Ravens. First round pick Mark Clayton held out for five days into training camp. A couple of other first day picks got injured early in OTAs as well, prompting the Ravens to hold off on their contracts.
Overall, Kokinis has done a solid job of retaining his best players as well as quickly signing his draft picks. He hasn't done anything extraordinary in Baltimore but he's been consistently on target.
One worry about Kokinis' tenure is the lack of franchise quarterback. The Ravens have noticeably struggled at that position, which doesn't bode well for advising the Kansas City Chiefs.
Is Kokinis the right fit for the Chiefs?
Let's take a look to see if George Kokinis fits Clark Hunt's criteria for a new GM.
- "Shrewd Evaluator Of Talent" - Indeed. Like I mentioned before, Kokinis has been involved with scouting at all levels of the game and he's put together a consistently great Ravens' defense. One worry is on the offensive side of the ball, where the Ravens have missed on some major positions over the years.
- Experience With Winning Teams - Yes. Kokinis was with the Ravens during their 2000 Super Bowl run. And despite some rocky years, the Ravens have for the most part been a winning ball club in the last decade.
- Strong Leader - Not sure. No evidence either way on this, unless you want to consider a director position as a major leadership role.
- Effective Communicator - I'd assume this is true. Kokinis was responsible for delivering scouting reports and opponent reviews before games so he's able to communicate his thoughts as well as required for that job.
- Blends Into The Chiefs Culture - Coming from a no frills, defense first Baltimore franchise, I'd say Kokinis could easily blend into the Chiefs' culture.
- Someone Outside The Organization -Yes.
He's not the most exciting candidate but I do believe that George Kokinis could be a strong candidate for Clark Hunt, even though no team has requested permission to speak with him.