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Rod Graves
General Manager

Biography

NoteCARDS:

  • Joined the Cardinals in 1997 and has led the team’s personnel department since 2003.
  • Is one of the NFL’s longest-tenured football decision- makers in the NFL and is one of six African American general managers in the league.
  • In February of 2011, he received the Paul “Tank” Younger Award from the Fritz Pollard Alliance to honor an individual who displays outstanding work, on and off the field, in leveling the playing field for minorities in the NFL.
  • Represents the Cardinals on a number of NFL committees including the College Relations Subcommittee, the General Managers Advisory Committee, and the CEC Executive Working Group.
  • A Houston native, Graves began his career in 1982 as a regional scout for the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars and joined the NFL in ’84 as a regional scout for the Chicago Bears; was promoted to Bears director of college scouting in ’93 and directory of player personnel in ’94.
  • Graduated from Texas Tech University and is the son of the late Jackie Graves, former player personnel executive of the Philadelphia Eagles.

NoteCARDS:

  • Joined the Cardinals in 1997 and has led the team’s personnel department since 2003.
  • Is one of the NFL’s longest-tenured football decision- makers in the NFL and is one of six African American general managers in the league.
  • In February of 2011, he received the Paul “Tank” Younger Award from the Fritz Pollard Alliance to honor an individual who displays outstanding work, on and off the field, in leveling the playing field for minorities in the NFL.
  • Represents the Cardinals on a number of NFL committees including the College Relations Subcommittee, the General Managers Advisory Committee, and the CEC Executive Working Group.
  • A Houston native, Graves began his career in 1982 as a regional scout for the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars and joined the NFL in ’84 as a regional scout for the Chicago Bears; was promoted to Bears director of college scouting in ’93 and directory of player personnel in ’94.
  • Graduated from Texas Tech University and is the son of the late Jackie Graves, former player personnel executive of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rod Graves is entering his 16th season with the Cardinals organization after joining the team in 1997 as the Assistant to the President. He was promoted to Vice President, Football Operations in 2003 and was named General Manager in 2007. In February of 2010, he was rewarded for his role in shaping the team into back-to-back division champions when he received a contract extension through 2013.

Graves, 53, is responsible for all facets of the Cardinals’ football operations. He has provided leadership in hiring, planning, budgeting, player acquisitions, negotiations, and scouting. Graves has represented the Cardinals on a number of NFL committees and currently serves on the board of directors of National Football Scouting, Inc. and National Invitational Camp, Inc. (Indy Combine). In June of ’08, Graves was named to the NFL’s new General Managers Advisory Committee, an 11-member group that provides recommendations and other feedback to the league’s Football Operations Department. He also serves on the league’s CEC Executive Working Group.

As Cardinals G.M., Rod has been particularly successful building the team through the NFL Draft and free agency. The Cardinals have been commended for their successful draft classes, especially in recent years. Current Cardinals Patrick Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett, and Adrian Wilson are Pro Bowl players who were acquired through the draft.  Of the 22 Cardinals starters at the end of the 2011 season, 11 were draft choices of the team during Graves’ tenure while one other starter joined the team as an undrafted rookie free agent. Of the 35 players drafted since 2007, 22 remain with the team and 18 of those players have started least one game with the Cardinals.

One of the league’s longest-tenured personnel decision makers, Graves is also one of six African American general managers in the NFL, joining Baltimore’s Ozzie Newsome, Houston’s Rick Smith, Detroit’s Martin Mayhew, the Giants Jerry Reese and Oakland’s Reggie McKenzie.

 

In February of 2011, Graves received the Paul “Tank” Younger Award from the Fritz Pollard Alliance. The annual honor is given to an individual who displays outstanding work, on and off the field, in leveling the playing field for minorities in the NFL. Graves was the second Cardinals executive to win the award in the last two years as owner Bill Bidwill was honored in 2010.

Consistent with the Cardinals efforts to become champions in the community, Rod and his wife Dreama, devote their time and resources to supporting Cardinals Charities, The United Way, and The American Diabetes Association.

A native of Houston, TX, Rod began his career in professional football in 1982 as a regional scout for the Philadelphia Stars of the United States Football League. He joined the National Football League in 1984 as a regional scout for the Chicago Bears, a position he held until promoted to director of college scouting in 1993. He was promoted in 1994 to director of player personnel.

Rod is a graduate of Texas Tech University. He is also the son of the late Jackie Graves, former player personnel executive of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rod and Dreama reside in Phoenix with their three children: daughters, Brittany & Taylor, and son, Joshua.

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