Billy Devaney is among the contributors who will be part of ESPN’s new NFL Insiders show, debuting Monday, August 5 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The general manager of the St. Louis Rams from 2008-11, Devaney has 29 years of NFL experience and he’s held a number of front-office positions with a handful of teams. Prior to his stint with the Rams, he was a senior personnel executive and assistant general manager with the Atlanta Falcons. He also spent time as a college and pro scout with the Washington Redskins and as a director of pro personnel with the San Diego Chargers. Now, one of the newest members of the ESPN team, Devaney speaks with Front Row about this opportunity to talk football on television.
What can fans expect from NFL Insiders?
Pure football. Hard-core football. We’ll discuss everything that goes on within an organization – making a trade, releasing a veteran, how a team unloads a top player in week four – and all the particulars that factor into making those decisions. I think we have a lot of different layers. People on the show come from the media, from the personnel and coaching standpoint. I think we have everything covered.
How will you approach this assignment?
I can relate to the everyday fan. Even when I would do radio or TV in St. Louis, people would say, ‘You’re easy to talk to; you’re too honest at times’. I’d say, ‘Listen, if I wasn’t general manager, I’d probably be calling in. I’m a sports fan.’ In this case, I’m just talking football, and that’s going to be my approach.
Which of your new teammates do you already know?
I go way back with [former Browns GM] Phil Savage. We’ve been on the road to many colleges together evaluating players over the years. I’ve known Mort [Chris Mortensen] forever and consider him a good friend. When I found out he was involved in this, that was probably the first thing that piqued my interest. I’ve known Adam Schefter since he got into the business. I love [Bill] Polian, and he will be forever embedded in my football history because he was the guy that took Peyton Manning and left Ryan Leaf for us [in San Diego].
Do you have a favorite memory of any of the people you mentioned?
A few years ago at the combine, Sam Bradford couldn’t work out because he was rehabbing his shoulder. Everybody was waiting for the results of the MRI to see just how he was healing. At the presser, I was going up to talk and right before it started Schefter said to me, ‘Hey, just so you know, Bradford’s been cleared’. He was reporting that we were going to take Bradford. He said the Rams are locked into Bradford now that he’s been cleared medically.
So, I checked with Adam, I said, ‘Listen, I’m going to have a little fun with you. Are you okay with it?’ Of course, one of the first questions – it’s been reported that the Rams are going to take Sam Bradford. I said, ‘Yeah, it’s obvious now. Dr. Schefter’s cleared him. So as long as Dr. Schefter is good with the physical, I guess we’re okay with it, so yeah, I guess we’re cleared to take Bradford now’.