NASHVILLE – When Ran Carthon joined the San Francisco 49ers back in 2017, he was hired as the team's director of pro personnel.
In time, it became clear to those around him he was destined for even bigger things.
"When you are looking for someone in that role, first and foremost, you are not trying to get a future GM – you are trying to get a really good evaluator of talent in our league," 49ers general manager John Lynch said on Wednesday. "When I hired Ran, that's what we were looking for, and he has been that, and he has that skill.
"It's just that in the process we discovered there's a lot more to Ran. And, that's why he worked his way up through our organization and that's why he has earned this opportunity right now."
On Wednesday, the Titans announced Carthon as the franchise's next general manager.
Carthon joins the Titans after spending six seasons with the 49ers, including the last two as the team's director of player personnel.
Carthon joined the 49ers when Lynch and Coach Kyle Shanahan took over in 2017. Since, the 49ers have made three playoff appearances, played in two NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. Additionally, the 49ers have had nine players account for 13 total Pro Bowl selections in the last two seasons (seven selections in 2021 and six in 2022).
With the Titans, Carthon will work alongside Coach Mike Vrabel.
"I'm thrilled for Ran – he's earned it," Lynch said. "I can't say enough good things about Ran.
"Last year I heard from a lot of people that he interviewed with, how well he did. He is very qualified, and I think he'll be a great partner to Vrabes. I know Vrabes well, and that's such an important relationship – the head coach/GM one. Having each other's back and having the respect of each other is so critical because you are leading that organization together. … I think it's a great fit with (Ran and Mike), because the first part of any relationship is there is a mutual respect, and I know they'll have that. And I think the loyalty – they are both very loyal people and I think they'll have each other's back. And that's the thing – you're going to have your hits and you're going to have your misses but if you stay with it through all of those you have a chance and I believe strongly knowing the two of them that they will be a really good fit.
"I am really confident that (the Titans) made a really good decision."
Before joining the 49ers, Carthon spent five seasons (2012-16) with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams as their Director of Pro Personnel. He entered the NFL scouting world as a pro scout with the Atlanta Falcons for four years (2008-11) after spending three seasons in the NFL (2004-06) as a player, primarily with the Colts.
Carthon played running back at the University of Florida, and his father, Maurice, played for the Giants and Colts, and he also coached for New England, New York Jets, Detroit, Dallas, Cleveland, Arizona and Kansas City.
Lynch on Wednesday discussed Carthon's best qualities.
"Ran makes really meaningful relationships," Lynch said. "He's just an easy person to talk to, and he has an ease to him. He was very close to a lot of our players, and close with a lot of our staff. He's a guy that everybody respects, and he has great wisdom."
As a talent evaluator, he was also impressive, Lynch said.
"Look at his background, and being around the game because of his father," Lynch said. "He's been around it and he played himself at Florida, at a high level. He's been around great athletes and then goes to Indy – he was around some special people there – Hall of Fame players, a Hall of Fame GM in Bill Polian, coach Tony Dungy, and I know how impactful he can be in his philosophies. He gets into our business because as people were around him, they realized this guy would be a great scout. He worked in Atlanta, went to the Rams and was part of building something there and then we were fortunate enough to have him. He has a really good background that has him equipped and ready for this.
"His background is special, but he just has tremendous people skills – you enjoy being around him. He makes an organization better because of his attributes."
Lynch, whose team is preparing to face the Cowboys in the Divisional Round of the playoffs this weekend, said he talked to the Titans – and Carthon – throughout the process.
Lynch said the Titans were very pointed in their questions about Carthon, especially after the initial interview. Some of it, Lynch said, centered on the dynamics of how Carthon and Vrabel would work together.
Over the weekend, Lynch said 49ers CEO Jed York also talked to Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk at length about Carthon.
"I sensed," Lynch said, "(Ran) had a real chance at this thing, and I think Jed sensed that as well. (The Titans) were doing their work, and then he went back for his second interview. When I talked to Ran, he really wanted this thing. He loved where he was at, and he knew he had a good home here (with the 49ers), but he wanted it.
"I was actually in a meeting with Jed when we got the news. It was myself, Jed, with (49ers EVP of Football Operations) Paraag Marathe, and (49ers Assistant GM) Adam Peters strolled in, and it turned into a fun, celebratory call for Ran. We just told him how proud and happy we were for him. I think he's going to do great."