Sept 12, 2011; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos general manager Brian Xanders on the sidelines before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Hiring Brian Xanders Brings Detroit Lions into the Present

Yesterday’s news that Brian Xanders has joined the Detroit Lions front office as a Senior Personnel Executive was widely reviewed as a good hire. New or different don’t always mean better, but Xanders’ addition is a step forward for the Lions.

From Tim Twentyman’s write-up on

“One big thing he’s going to be working on right now is building a new scouting system,” Mayhew said. “We’ve contracted that out in the past and bought product from other people and we’re actually going to build our own system internally designed strictly for us that we can design and set up.”

Xanders has experience building such a system in Atlanta in the 90s, which was one of the first systems built internally like that.

No one will mistake the Detroit Lions organization for revolutionaries and this is just another example. The hiring of Brian Xanders and the willingness to take control over the scouting process should be viewed as very good news by Lions fans but breaking it down to a basic level, the Lions aren’t doing anything more than getting in on what other organizations have been doing for over a decade. Still, better late than never and it looks like they got the right guy to lead the effort. Nothing can change the past but this hire brings a chance at changing the future.

More from Twentyman:

Xanders will help to improve the position-specific structure already in place in the personnel office and adds another set of eyes to help determine how players will best fit a role with the Detroit Lions.

This may be even more important than the in-house scouting system. A lot has been made about the Wide-9 and whether or not the Lions should or shouldn’t keep the defensive scheme heading into next year. Scheme might give one team an advantage over another in the short-term but over the long haul, it doesn’t matter what you do so much as how you do it. It is clear what the Lions want to do, adding Xanders into the personnel department will help ensure that the results of what they do starts looking a lot more like what they envision.

The goal isn’t just to acquire talent, it is to acquire talent that fits a role as part of the Lions’ bigger plan. Xanders was able to do that as general manager in Denver, can he do it in Detroit?

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