Detroit Lions Top GM Candidates

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Duke Tobin

Current job: Director of Player Personnel, Cincinnati Bengals

Why he fits: For the better part of two decades the Bengals were the AFC version of the Lions, a poorly-run organization from the top down which consistently put a losing product on the field. Tobin helped spearhead a radical turnaround; Cincinnati has made the playoffs five years in a row with one of the deepest and most overall talented rosters in the league.

In his 16 years with the Bengals, Tobin has served from being the primary part of a meager scouting department to overseeing both the college and pro scouting departments. He’s been the de facto GM since 2011, and the lack of the job title might make him more willing to depart for the prestige.

The 45-year-old Tobin has NFL pedigree. His father and uncle have both served as NFL coaches and in front offices. Duke played quarterback in the Arena League in the 1990s, which gives him a gridiron background players can respect.

Hangups: He’s only worked for one organization and, despite the relative roster strength, those Bengals have yet to win a playoff game. It’s more on the organization than Tobin, but the fact they’ve not awarded him the GM title raises an eyebrow. Earlier in his tenure, the team took some major character risks with varying degrees of success. That would not fly with the recent course in Detroit.

Next: Sheldon White