INDIANAPOLIS – Let the interviews begin for the future direction of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts will interview six people for their open general manager position.
In alphabetical order, the Colts are scheduled to interview Chris Ballard (Chiefs), Scott Fitterer (Seahawks), Trent Kirchner (Seahawks), George Paton (Vikings), Jimmy Raye III (Colts) and Eliot Wolf (Packers) over the next week.
Earlier reports mentioned a couple of other names involved in the Colts' search for a new GM. However, the six names above are the ones the Colts will be interviewing.
A common theme for the majority of outside candidates the Colts are bringing in for interviews includes a strong defensive background with success finding homegrown talent through the draft.
Here are the six people that will be interviewed for the Colts General Manager opening:
Chris Ballard:Director of Football Operations, Kansas City Chiefs
After a 2-14 season in 2012, the Chiefs have been one of the NFL's more consistent teams since Ballard arrived in Kansas City.
Ballard came to KC in 2013, following 12 seasons with the Bears.
Since Ballard joined the Chiefs, Kansas City has had four straight seasons of at least nine wins. The Chiefs went 12-4 this past season, earning the AFC's No. 2 seed.
The Chiefs have a roster littered with homegrown players. With Ballard in Kansas City, the Chiefs have drafted Pro Bowlers TE-Travis Kelce, CB-Marcus Peters and KR/WR-Tyreek Hill.
Scott Fitterer:Co-director of Player Personnel, Seattle Seahawks
The long-time Seahawks personnel man has served a variety of roles for Seattle's multiple runs to the Super Bowl.
Fitterer's days in Seattle began in 2001 as an area scout, hired originally by Mike Holmgren. Fitterer eventually rose to the team's assistant director of college scouting and became the director of college scouting in 2010. In 2015, the Seahawks promoted Fitterer to the co-director of player personnel.
The Seahawks have found tremendous success over the past handful of years in the draft.
Names like QB-Russell Wilson, S-Earl Thomas, CB-Richard Sherman, S-Kam Chancellor and LB-Bobby Wagner all came under Fitterer's directing of college scouting.
In Fitterer's first four drafts as director of college scouting, the Seahawks selected 13 eventual starters.
Fitterer has an interesting background as a minor league baseball player for three years, before diving into the pro football world.
Trent Kirchner:Co-Director of Player Personnel, Seattle Seahawks
Since Kirchner joined the Seahawks in 2010, Seattle has made the postseason in six of seven seasons, winning at least one playoff game each year.
The Seahawks have been the NFC's most consistent team this decade, making two Super Bowls (winning one).
Before coming to Seattle as the assistant director of player personnel in 2010, Kirchner worked with the Redskins and Panthers.
One of Kirchner's direct connections to the Seahawks came via general manager John Schneider. Kirchner and Schneider both attended the University of St. Thomas.
George Paton:Assistant General Manager, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have built themselves into a playoff contender thanks to hitting on a plethora of important defensive draft picks.
Paton has played a role in that, while working in Minnesota for the last decade, the previous five as the team's assistant general manager to GM Rick Spielman.
Before coming to the Vikings, Paton worked in Chicago and Miami.
According to the Vikings, "Paton's primary focus is coordinate scouting and personnel functions within the Vikings Pro Scouting Department and lend his expertise to the College Scouting Department as they prepare for the annual NFL Draft."
In becoming the NFL's third-ranked defense last year, the Vikings relied on draft picks S-Harrison Smith, LB-Anthony Barr, DE-Everson Griffen, DE-Danielle Hunter and CB-Xavier Rhodes.
Paton has been a rumored GM candidate elsewhere before, including this year in San Francisco, who still is in search for a new GM.
Raye is the in-house candidate of the group.
Currently, Raye is down at the Senior Bowl, serving as the team's interim general manager.
For the last four seasons, Raye has been the vice president of football operations with the Colts.
Raye has taken on more of an administrative role since joining the Colts in 2013.
Earlier this week, Raye caught up with Colts.com to explain how his duties have evolved from 17 years with the Chargers.
"When I was in San Diego for 17 years, I went from an area scout to a director of college scouting, to the pro personnel director. And a lot of what I did was focused on being on the road, looking at college players," Raye said on Monday.*
"Coming (to Indianapolis), it's transitioned more into an administrative role. I'm kind of the conduit to a lot of different departments. I'm the overseer of the college and pro scouting efforts. I deal with the salary cap management, as well as the coaching side. It can change from year-to-year, day-to-day, but most of my role is focused on administrative duties."*
Raye, who grew up around the game of football, has also played a pivotal role in the Colts continued success with finding undrafted free agents. The Colts have had eight UDFAs make the roster and play in a game over the past two years.Eliot Wolf: Director of Football Operations, Green Bay Packers
At the age of 34, Wolf's ascent to an NFL general manager position is only a matter of when, not if.
Wolf, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, has worked 13 seasons with the Packers.
Per the Packers, "Wolf's *primary duties include coordinating the pro and college football departments as well as handling both college and pro player evaluation through film study, college visits, pro days, college all-star games and the NFL Scouting Combine. During the season, he is responsible for overseeing advance scouting of upcoming Packers opponents, evaluating potential free-agent signees and recommending player tryouts."*
Even though Wolf is younger than several NFL players, he's been a lifer in the scouting world.
Since joining the Packers in 2005, Wolf has been promoted five times. He works directly under well-respected general manager Ted Thompson.
Wolf did interview earlier this offseason for the GM opening in San Francisco. Since the interview, Wolf signed an extension with the Packers.
*Stay tuned to Colts.com for the latest on the GM search.
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