by Russell Preston, KHTK Sacramento

David Steele of Sporting News just released his annual ranking of the 32 general managers in the NFL and there are a few surprises.

For starters, the reigning champion New England Patriots, run by GM/coach Bill Belichick, is slated at sixth on the list. Sure, as a coach Belichick is without a doubt the cream of the crop right now (and in the last decade), but as a GM he has not been as good as some other candidates. In fact, Steele wrote another list ranking the NFL coaches in the league and Belichick is at the very top.

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The 49ers Trent Baalke took a stumble from last year’s ranking, as he was thought of as sixth-best before their 8-8 season began. Since then, after the horrible season last year, on top of the retired Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Chris Boreland, and Anthony Davis, as well as losing pieces like Jim Harbaugh, Michael Crabtree, Ray McDonald and Frank Gore, Baalke slipped down to 18th.

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I think it’s a fair assessment – Baalke has done his best to try to get the 49ers back on track without losing draft picks while still keeping a fair balance between veterans and prospects, but he has an uphill climb to get to where he once was.

The Raiders, on the other hand, have an even steeper climb. Reggie McKenzie is ranked dead last in the NFL. This season can easily put him in the middle of the pack if new additions of Amari Cooper, Crabtree and Jack Del Rio among others can put together a .500 season.

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Here’s the complete list:

  1. John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks
  2. Ozzie Newsom, Baltimore Ravens
  3. Ted Thompson, Green Bay Packers
  4. Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
  5. John Elway, Denver Broncos
  6. Bill Belichick, New England
  7. Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh Steelers
  8. Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints
  9. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
  10. Ryan Grigson, Indianapolis Colts
  11. John Dorsey, Kansas City Chiefs
  12. Rick Smith, Houston Texans
  13. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles
  14. Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions
  15. Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
  16. Jerry Reese, New York Giants
  17. Les Snead, St. Louis Rams
  18. Trent Baalke, San Francisco 49ers
  19. Rick Spielman, Minnesota Vikings
  20. Dave Gettleman, Carolina Panthers
  21. Tom Telesco, San Diego Chargers
  22. Doug Whaley, Buffalo Bills
  23. Mike Tannenbaum, Miami Dolphins
  24. Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons
  25. Scot McCloughan, Washington Redskins
  26. Ryan Place, Chicago Bears
  27. Dave Caldwell, Jacksonville Jaguars
  28. Mike Maccagnan, New York Jets
  29. Ray Farmer, Cleveland Browns
  30. Ruston Webster, Tennessee Titans
  31. Jason Licht, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  32. Reggie McKenzie, Oakland Raiders