Saturday, May 28, 2022

Colts Beat Writer Tells Morocco Brown Story Bears Fans Should Hear


Morocco Brown was a surprise name that surfaced when the Chicago Bears GM search began. It wasn’t hard to understand why the team was interested. The man was a pro personnel director in Chicago from 2001 to 2007. The best stretch this organization has had since the 1980s. Throw in the fact he’s now the college scouting director of one of the better drafting teams in the NFL in the Indianapolis Colts and it isn’t a difficult sell.

Yet the fact remains there is precious little information about Brown outside of his employment history and some fun video clips on YouTube or the Colts’ website. They don’t offer an idea of who the man is as a person and evaluator. So the Under Center Podcast got in touch with an old friend. JJ Stankevitz. The former Bears beat writer and now a columnist for shed some fascinating light on the young executive.

One story he told really should turn some heads.

“The one thing that stands out to me. I was kind of diving into who is he? What do I need to know about him? In 2018, the Colts are going through their second draft under Chris Ballard’s leadership. They’re talking about this guard from Auburn. Well he played guard in college and he’s probably a guard. He’s got shorter arms than you would like for a tackle.

And Morocco Brown goes, ‘Hey. This guy can play tackle.’ There were some butting heads about this. It took a lot of convincing for the Colts to go ahead and say ‘Yeah alright, this guy can play tackle.’ That guy is Braden Smith who is one of the best right tackles in the NFL today. That kind of outside-the-box thinking. That vision for a player is something that Morocco does so well.”

That is something that can often be so crucial for a good GM. An ability to see what a player does best and identify the position they should play. Almost everybody went with the easy idea that Smith was a guard because he had short arms. Brown looked at the total package and was convinced the arm length meant nothing. The kid had the size, quickness, and athleticism for tackle.

Stankevitz also explained that even the “bad drafts” the Colts have had with Brown running the college scouting department have produced solid players. The 2019 class was initially blasted for not producing any results. Since then it has delivered a starting cornerback (Rock Ya-Sin), starting inside linebacker (Bobby Okereke), starting safety (Khari Willis), and top special teams ace (E.J. Speed). That is the mark of good drafting. If you’re not hitting home runs, you need to at least hit singles and doubles.

Morocco Brown seems capable of doing that

Another thing to keep in mind here is the man is well-versed at dealing with challenging ownerships. He worked in Washington for six seasons under Daniel Snyder and then two seasons in Cleveland under Jimmy Haslam. Despite that, he still managed to help those organizations draft stars like Brian Orakpo, Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, and Joel Bitonio. Now he has guys like Quentin Nelson, Darius Leonard, and Jonathan Taylor added to the list as well.

He comes across as personable with an ability to communicate with people. A trait that is often vital for a good GM. It is also something the McCaskeys would find appealing just as they did with Ryan Pace. This is why Morocco Brown should be considered a favorite for the job. Even if he hasn’t interviewed yet. His opportunity will arrive on Monday the 24th. Thus far the Bears have not brought in any candidates for a second look.

So the race remains wide open.

Brown has plenty of reasons to think he has a shot. He works for the Colts. The same organization that Bill Polian ran for over a decade. On top of that, he worked for the Bears for several years. Connections can often mean a lot in the NFL. He has some of the strongest.

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