Vital, Ross Emerge as Top Candidates for Bucs GM

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have spent the last few weeks carefully combing through resumes and interviewing candidates for the team’s vacant general manager job, and it appears the race is now down to two — Lionel Vital and Marc Ross.

A league source told Sports Talk Florida Thursday that the decision would likely come down to Vital, the Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel and Ross, the New York Giants VP of player evaluation.

Both candidates were part of the team’s second round of interviews this week and both would be first-time GMs, if selected.

Vital brings over 23 years’ experience as both a scout and personnel executive, including six with the Falcons. He also has spent time with the Browns, Ravens, Patriots and Jets, working alongside Bill Belichick Ozzie, Newsome and Scott Pioli.

He played running back at Nicholls State and was a seventh-round draft pick by the Redskins in 1985.

One Falcons colleague described him as both knowledgeable and personable, and said that his approachability may be one of his best attributes.

Ross just wrapped up his first season as VP of player evaluation in New York after serving as the team’s director of college scouting for six years, where he oversaw the entire draft.

Prior to that, he spent three seasons as a national scout with the Bills and seven with the Eagles, who made him the league’s youngest college scouting director at age 27. He was an All-Ivy League a wide receiver at Princeton.

The Bucs initially requested permission to speak with several front office members from around the league, including Lake Dawson, VP of player personnel for the Titans, Tom Gamble, VP of player personnel for the Eagles, Morocco Brown, Redskins director of pro personnel, Jason Licht, VP of player personnel for the Cardinals and Chris Ballard, director of player personnel for the Chiefs.

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