NFL general managers put their reputations on the line come draft day.
Some fare better than others.
The chart shows how many Pro Bowl players current NFC West GMs have drafted or helped draft over the past 10 years.
The numbers are not definitive. Current GMs from the division weren't always primary decision makers during the period in question. They do not deserve all the credit (or blame) for the players their teams drafted.
In some cases -- think first-team All-Pro choice NaVorro Bowman in San Francisco, for example -- very good players have not yet achieved Pro Bowl acclaim. In other cases, a single decision -- say, drafting Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay -- improved an organization's trajectory enough to launch other players to the Pro Bowl.
What we have, basically, is a starting point for discussion heading into the 2012 draft. Here's a look at each current NFC West GM and the associated 2002-2011 draft choices with Pro Bowls on their résumés:
John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks (10): Schneider is entering his third draft as a GM after joining the Seahawks from Green Bay, where he worked under Ted Thompson. Seattle safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor went to the Pro Bowl after last season. Schneider was in Green Bay when the Packers drafted eventual Pro Bowl choices B.J. Raji, Javon Walker, Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Aaron Kampman and Scott Wells. Three notable non-Pro Bowl picks: Jermichael Finley, Richard Sherman, Matt Flynn.
Trent Baalke, San Francisco 49ers (8): Baalke was with the Washington Redskins when they selected Sean Taylor and Chris Cooley. He was with the 49ers in a sub-GM role when San Francisco selected Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Frank Gore, Dashon Goldson and Michael Robinson. Three notable non-Pro Bowl picks: Bowman, Aldon Smith, Ray McDonald.
Rod Graves, Arizona Cardinals (7): Graves has been the Cardinals' GM for the entire period in question, although personnel director Steve Keim is ultimately responsible for setting the draft board. Draft choices Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Antrel Rolle, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Anquan Boldin, Darnell Dockett and Antonio Smith achieved Pro Bowl status. Smith went to the Pro Bowl with Houston last season. That counts for the purposes of our discussion. Three notable non-Pro Bowl picks: Calais Campbell, Karlos Dansby, Daryl Washington.
Les Snead, St. Louis Rams (4): Snead enters his first draft as a GM after a long run with Atlanta. The Falcons selected eventual Pro Bowl choices Matt Ryan, DeAngelo Hall, Roddy White and Matt Schaub when Snead was with the team. Again, the period in question covers only the last 10 drafts, excluding from consideration other players (Michael Vick comes to mind among Snead-era Falcons choices). Three notable non-Pro Bowl picks: Curtis Lofton, Thomas DeCoud, Laurent Robinson.
Whoa, the NFC West chat is getting under way now. Gotta run.