When Doug Whaley joined the Buffalo Bills as Assistant General Manager and Director of Pro Personnel, he brought experience in the job from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since his arrival in Buffalo, he's proven his worth in the scouting department - so much so that he's earned a contract extension with the team.
As Director of Pro Personnel, one of Whaley's jobs was to scout available talent on other NFL squads so when players became available, the Bills would have a file. Whaley's ability to plug holes has best been noted on the offensive line, where Kraig Urbik went from Steelers castoff to starting right guard. Urbik signed a new four-year deal in December.
Whaley also had a hand in bringing in fill-in starter Chad Rinehart, who is one of the top guards available in free agency and could get a shot at a starting job somewhere in 2013. Rinehart was first added to the Bills' active roster in 2010 after spending time on the New York Jets' practice squad.
Buddy Nix drafted Scott Chandler in San Diego and likely played a major role in signing the tight end in 2010, but another diamond-in-the-rough addition was defensive end Kyle Moore, who beat out Shawne Merriman in training camp in 2012 for the final defensive line spot.
In free agency, Whaley's department added Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Nick Barnett and Brad Smith while trading for (and ultimately re-signing) Tarvaris Jackson. Williams was perhaps the trickiest and biggest free agent signing in team history on the recommendation of Whaley and his pro personnel department.
In May of 2011, Whaley was promoted to Director of Player Personnel and received additional duties overseeing college scouting. Many saw this as the next logical step in Whaley's ascent to the GM job. With that additional title, Whaley was closely involved in the 2012 NFL Draft, where Buffalo selected eventual starters Stephon Gilmore and Cordy Glenn as well as key role players T.J. Graham, Nigel Bradham and Ron Brooks.
While many fans clamored for Whaley's promotion following the 2012 season, it's clear his track record behind the scenes has impressed the Bills' brass enough to extend Whaley long-term and place the future of the team in his hands as general manager. If his previous signings are any indication of his eye for talent, Bills fans should be happy with one caveat - he needs to help the team find a quarterback.