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Panthers dip into Eagles staff for new head of analytics

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Teams are following the Philly model

via Carolina Panthers

While the loss of Joe Douglas seemed inevitable, the Eagles’ ability to keep their front office intact via internal promotion kept much of a Super Bowl-winning group together. But not everyone is sticking around.

The Carolina Panthers announced yesterday the hiring of Taylor Rajack as their first ever director of football analytics. New owner David Tepper has been very vocal about his desire to incorporate analytics into the model of the Carolina Panthers organization, and this move signifies just how seriously he is taking the effort.

Rajack had been with the Eagles for the past five seasons, earning a full-time position following an internship out of MIT, where he was studying to be a data scientist in the field of economics. On the topic of working with the Eagles, here’s what Rajack told Max Henson of Panthers.com:

“Working there, we were very well researched in every decision we made. Trying to gain that edge,” Rajack said. “We wanted to understand the risks and understand the expectation with any decision to make smarter choices. Why would you ignore information that’s out there? It’s the idea of bringing all the pieces together.

“In Philadelphia, we became identified as one of the more analytically inclined teams. That paved the way for me to get here and start something new.”

Rajack was previously the Eagles’ Assistant Director of Football Analytics. The Eagles intentionally have built out a large analytics staff in Philly, and accordingly, many of the key players, such as Andrew Berry and Alec Halaby, are still in place. They have four “Analysts” currently on staff, who could potentially be in line for expanded roles: James Gilman, Jon Liu, Namita Nandakumar, and Chase Perlen.

There’s no reason to expect the Eagles analytic team will take a large hit, given their relative size and the emphasis that general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson both put on the topic. It will be interesting to see, if Rajack is successful in Carolina, how other teams may potentially try to snipe analysts from the Eagles’ ranks.