Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk speculated on what Edsall's role might ultimately be in Detroit, noting, "It’s unclear what, exactly, a 'director of football research/special projects' does, but Edsall will presumably be an assistant to new Lions G.M. Bob Quinn. Quinn’s first job in football was as a graduate assistant at UConn during Edsall’s first year as UConn’s head coach, so now Quinn is giving his old boss a job."
Edsall formerly served as the head coach for Maryland and Connecticut.
He was fired from Maryland in mid-October after starting the season 2-4 and after he had gone just 22-34 overall and 0-12 against ranked opponents in his five seasons with the school.
He did lead the Terrapins to two bowl games in 2013-14, losing both contests.
Edsall had more success during his tenure at UConn, going 74-70 and leading the team from the FCS level to the FBS, culminating in a Fiesta Bowl bid in 2011. He was named the Big East Coach of the Year in 2010 and led the Huskies to a 3-2 record in bowl games.
He also spent a year as the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech and four years on Tom Coughlin's staff as secondary coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He started his coaching tenure with Syracuse, coaching multiple positions on both sides of the ball.
Edsall will bring a rich coaching history to a revamped front office and coaching staff in Detroit, where his experience in the game will make him a valued voice in personnel and game decisions.