Cunningham is one of two personnel people on this list — Andy Weidl is the other — who learned at the Ozzie Newsome School of Scouting, aka the Baltimore Ravens.
"Guys who learned and trained under Ozzie, it was like getting a law degree from Harvard,’’ said Brian Baldinger, an NFL Network analyst. "He was hard on guys but gave them the leeway to show what they could do.
"Ozzie and the guys that trained under him, they’re not like many other guys. Even in the Ravens’ heyday, if you went to practice, Ozzie seldom was on the field. He’d be in a shed with the lawnmowers watching practice. He felt it wasn’t his job to be in the spotlight.
"He trained his scouts to work on their weaknesses, work on their blind spots. Anybody who trained under Ozzie, you have to take them seriously as a candidate when there is a job opening. It’s like coaching under Andy Reid.’’
Cunningham, 38, learned the trade under Newsome, joining the Ravens in 2008 as a personnel assistant and serving as an area scout for the team from 2013-16.
"That’s where I grew up,’’ he said. "That’s where I cut my teeth.’’
The Philadelphia Eagles hired him in 2017 to be their director of college scouting. He was promoted to assistant director of player personnel in 2019 and director of player personnel in 2021. He was hired by the Chicago Bears last year as their assistant general manager under Ryan Poles.
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported in January that Cunningham was offered the Arizona Cardinals’ GM job that went to Monti Ossenfort but turned it down.
The Ravens had a run of six consecutive playoff appearances in the seven years Cunningham was with the organization, including a Super Bowl title in 2012. The Eagles were in the playoffs four of the five years Cunningham was with them and won a Super Bowl in 2017.
"Ian has learned from some really good guys with both the Ravens and Eagles,’’ Baldinger said. "He’s coming out of the right nests.’’
Cunningham was a two-year starting offensive lineman at the University of Virginia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education and human development.
"Ian is smart, thinks broadly, and has expertise in all of the areas that a GM needs to know,’’ Tannenbaum said. "Working for the Ravens and Eagles was great training to run your own ship.’’
Paul Domowitch, senior writer, 33rd team listed Ian Cunningham, Bears as the number ranked GM candidate. This above was his very compelling argument.
I think GM is the first step towards the ever present poll question number uno: (possible paraphrase). Is this team heading in the right direction. A good GM can manage the cap, keep us in contention with a mix of signings and draft picks. A good GM picks good coaches and hold them to this! A good GM addresses his teams immediate needs and future needs. When have we had this?
To that number uno, I have consistently said NO! This franchise under the Danny child hasn’t had a close resemblance of anything but a huge dumpster fire. This dumpster fire burned so big and bright that I believe it is solely responsible for global warming! I will take anyone who worked under Ozzie! The man was the closest to a guru I’ve seen in my time. Some of you saw Walsh, and what Jimmy did. Some saw Casserly….I wasn’t aware if I was even around. Parcels was a guy who impressed me, but he didn’t do so well in Miami. I just liked his talks. GM and personnel like this are completely alien to me. We’ve had, the Danny puppet, to the DannyBruce, to the Daron, it is my decision and my decision alone. We all cringed when DannyDougs speech of people have done worse in reference to Fosters serous DV allegations. Defending DV, sooooo Danny! Doug’s gotta go! Anyone who has a whiff of Danny had better be the best at what they do. I might fire all the damned cheerleaders if I’m Josh as well. Ian is likely the guy I want. One, his record of success is very appealing. The only thing I don’t know is, how savvy is he with cap (a must for me), how well he trades, and how well he is at picking coaches. I didn’t see that on his resume. But, I’m sure we should be able to iron it all out. I ask anyone who reads this;
1. What is a good GM to you?
2. Who would you hire as the next GM?
So when the deviating weather hits us all, be sure to thank your local Danny, and thanks for the read!