Lions Make a Great Hire in Former Broncos GM Brian Xanders & More NFC North News

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2013

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 20:  (L-R) General manager Brian Xanders, head coach John Fox, majority owner, president, and CEO Pat Bowlen and executive vice president of football operations John Elway listen as quarterback Peyton Manning speaks during a news conference announcing Manning's contract with the Denver Broncos in the team meeting room at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre on March 20, 2012 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, entering his 15th NFL season, was released by the Indianapolis Colts on March 7, 2012, where he had played his whole career. It has been reported that Manning will sign a five-year, $96 million offer.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Lions added former Broncos GM Brian Xanders as senior personnel executive on Monday. According to the Free Press' Dave Birkett, he'll be assisting with pro and college scouting but report to GM Marty Mayhew.

This is an interesting move for several reasons, but likely not an indication that Mayhew should watch his back—after all, he hired Xanders.

By all accounts this is a tremendous hire, by the way.

Since Xanders is a former Broncos executive, I reached out to a guy who knows all there is about the team in 102.3 ESPN's Cecil Lammey.

"He's a smart guy with a great eye for talent," Lammey texted me when I reached out to get his thoughts.

Lammey says Xanders was instrumental in helping John Elway learn the personnel side of things and was a leading force in drafting Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Xanders also unearthed cornerback Chris Harris, who was an undrafted free agent almost nobody (including Mike Mayock) knew about in 2011's draft.

Harris had a very good 2012 and looks like he is poised to be an impact player for Denver going forward. We all know how good Thomas and Decker were this season.

Over the past few weeks, we've talked a little bit about the Lions perhaps changing the way that they do their draft analysis and adding Xanders is definitely a good step in that direction.

Lest we forget, when he drafted Thomas in 2010, he passed on Dez Bryant. One of the many reasons cited for this was character—an issue which has come up for the Lions the past two years.

Of course, the Lions have a lot of work to do this offseason and a long road to get back to their 2010 heights.

Xanders is an excellent step forward though, and one Lions fans should be excited about.


Chicago Bears

ESPN Chicago's Jeff Dickerson talks about new linebackers coach Tim Tibesar's background, including his time working for head coach Marc Trestman with the Montreal Alouettes.

Sean Jensen of the Sun-Times reports that the Bears have hired former safety Chris Harris as an assistant coach.


Detroit Lions

The Lions staff impressed their South squad players at the Senior Bowl last week, according to The Detroit News' Josh Katzenstein.

Along with adding Brian Xanders, GM Marty Mayhew is looking to make some major changes, especially to the current roster, according to's Anwar Richardson.


Green Bay Packers

More proof that Greg Jennings is leaving Green Bay: according to the Journal-Sentinel's Bob Wolfey, he's put his house up for sale.

CheeseheadTV's Zach Kruse talks about the offensive line and where Pro Football Focus has them ranked.


Minnesota Vikings

One of the biggest wins for the Vikings this season took place against the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers and today the Star-Tribune's Mark Craig compares the two rosters. 

Chris Gates of The Daily Norseman talks a little about the ESPN interview with former running back Leroy Hoard, who is struggling with the same symptoms which drove the likes of Junior Seau to suicide. 

Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN has the second part of his season ending grades up—this time covering the defense. 


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