In the wake of a tough season, something drastic had to be done within the Detroit Lions' front office. The pressure has been on general manager Martin Mayhew to deliver some meaningful changes. On Monday, a quiet move was made, which shows Mayhew might be listening to the pleas.
Brian Xanders, former general manager of the Denver Broncos, was added Monday as a senior personnel executive. He'll be in charge of revamping the scouting department with regards to both the collegiate and professional game.
Considering one of the biggest knocks on the Lions for years has been their lack of ingenuity within scouting, give Mayhew credit for stepping outside his comfort zone and adding an experienced leader to give him some differentiating opinions. Matt Millen, always eager to be the smartest guy in the room, would never have made such a move. It would have threatened his ego too much
Xanders was uniquely successful in Denver, especially as it related to collegiate scouting. From 2009-2012, he oversaw several successful drafts that saw the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Von Miller, Ryan Clady, Eric Decker, Knowshon Moreno, Robert Ayers and Zane Beadles get drafted. These players have become the recent backbone of the Broncos' team. From 2010-2012, Broncos' draft choices even led the league in playtime percentage, showing player development was exceptional under Xanders' watch.
Since Chuck Schmidt left, this is precisely what the Lions have needed to improve upon most. Though Mayhew will remain in charge and have the final say with regard to decisions, now, he's got another capable pair of eyes assisting him, who'll have eyes assisting him. The Lions' front office has rarely operated under the mantra "two heads are better than one" or "knowledge is power," but finally it might be true. By making a commitment to revamp scouting from the ground up, the Lions look serious about trying to make things right. Frankly, a man with Xanders' depth of experience can only be considered an asset.
Given the new hires on the offensive staff and the stunning addition of Xanders, this offseason cannot begin soon enough. The first part of Mayhew's plan for necessary offseason redemption has quietly fallen into place.
The only question left: what might everyone now have in store with regards to personnel changes?
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