Just spoke with first-known person interviewed for 49ers GM job, Tony Softli: "Everything went well and I'm excited about the opportunity."
The Rams might never admit it, but there has to be a certain amount of pride and schadenfreude in not only beating the 49ers, but in knocking their organization askew with the firing of Mike Singletary. Now a team with no head goes looking for one, and decides to look hard at former Rams VP of player personnel, Tony Softli.
@SoftliSTL heard u interviewed with the 49ers. If their smart they will hire u
From a competitive intelligence standpoint, this move makes perfect sense. Softli, one of the few executives from the dysfunctional hydra-headed Zygmunt era to survive the transition to the streamlined Billy Devaney/Steve Spagnuolo one, is intimately familiar with the Rams' inner workings and personnel philosophy. He is also a valued football mind who recruited some of the players, like Cliff Ryan, who formed the essential core of young depth that the Rams have been rebuilding around.
The 49ers are widely considered to be the most talented team in the division, particularly on defense, but a team with two clear needs -- sane, steady leadership and a trustworthy talent at quarterback. Softli knows a little something about both, having participated in the decision to hire Coach Spagnuolo, and submitting this scouting report on Sam Bradford prior to the draft.
I published my report on Sam Bradford, giving him the highest grade in my fifteen tenure for that position. My signature was on this young man and I felt extremely good. I checked his character like you do all draftees, I talked with several of my sources at OU, academic advisors, Coaches, Professors, Basketball sources, anyone that would talk, and I was listening. I couldn’t find one person with a negative comment, which drove me to dig even harder....
He is the best quarterback I’ve seen, and I would have drafted him over Sanchez and Stafford in 2009, and over Ryan and Flacco in 2008.-- Tony Softli, 101 ESPN: "The Big Easy in St Louis"
While Softli has an incumbent to dethrone in current player-personnel man Trent Baalke, and may have more competitors from actively employed candidates from other NFL teams once their seasons conclude, Softli's inherent ties to a rising power in the NFC West might make him the ideal candidate for the job.
And yes, by "rising power in the NFC West," I meant the Rams. What a difference a year makes, no?