ESPN poll gives Schneider edge as top exec

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider has edged a strong field of candidates for NFL executive of the year in voting by ESPN staffers.

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Paul Kuharsky of the AFC South blog has the breakdown with comments from voters and his own thoughts. Schneider received eight votes, one more than Denver's John Elway. Indianapolis' Ryan Grigson was third with four votes. Three other execs, including the San Francisco 49ers' Trent Baalke, received votes.

I voted for Schneider because I thought the moves Seattle made required more skill and foresight. Elway and Grigson did more than simply acquire Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, of course. But without those moves, neither would factor into the discussion. Those were moves 99 percent of fantasy football general managers would have made.

Schneider and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll found quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round and started him when conventional wisdom called for going with Matt Flynn. They bucked convention again when using a first-round choice for pass-rusher Bruce Irvin (eight sacks). They found a defensive rookie of the year candidate in second-round linebacker Bobby Wagner. One starting guard is seventh-round choice J.R. Sweezy, a player line coach Tom Cable converted from the defensive line.

Schneider and Carroll pulled off the personnel equivalent of Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard run through New Orleans' defense in the playoffs a couple years ago. Elway and Grigson made moves equating to 20-yard touchdown passes. All three plays would net six points, but some touchdowns are more impressive than others.

Note: I also think St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead should get a mention, based in part on what we discussed here Friday.