Ran Carthon

The 49ers director of player personnel is among the most respected people in NFL circles. Beyond the football side of things, Carthon’s considered one of the premier relationship-builders in the business.

“He commands respect because he gives respect,” a current AFC executive told me. Carthon, who played at Florida and spent three seasons on the Colts’ and Lions’ rosters, worked his way up in management over the last 15 years, first as a scout with the Falcons, then with the Rams and now in San Francisco since 2017.

He’s well-liked within the building and has already received requests from both the Cardinals and Titans for their vacant GM jobs. During his tenure in the Bay, the 41-year-old has helped draft Brock Purdy (Mr. Irrelevant), Deebo Samuel (second round), Fred Warner (third round), Dre Greenlaw, and Talanoa Hufanga (both fifth round).

Brandon Hunt

The Eagles director of scouting is revered around football for his ability to integrate scouting with culture-building. An MBA with more than 15 years of NFL experience – mostly with the Steelers – Hunt is adept at creating a common goal. “He’s a winner,” a former executive told me.

What I’ve also gathered is that Hunt doesn’t take shortcuts. He puts in the time but also holds everyone in high regard so that they’re empowered to make good decisions collectively. Considering he’s been in both the AFC and NFC, as well as scouted both college and pro, Hunt’s a highly qualified candidate with a bona fide philosophy on how to mold a championship-caliber roster.

“He believes in building through one’s strengths,” the former executive said.

Finding what you do well and doing it better than anyone else is a pretty good formula. We’ve seen this come to fruition on Philadephia’s roster as it bolstered an already talented receiver group with A.J. Brown, added to an already talented defensive front with Jordan Davis and Haason Reddick, and laid the groundwork in the secondary by acquiring James Bradberry and C.J. Gardner-Johnson last offseason.