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Five best picks for the Detroit Lions GM job

Sheila Ford-Hamp is not leaving any stone unturned in the search for the next general manager of the Detroit Lions. 

Immediately after firing general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, the Lions organization immediately went to work to search for their replacements.

Their work so far is to be commended. 

While they are beginning to interview more candidates for the head coach position, they’ve interviewed over ten candidates for the GM position.

And according to multiple reports, they are not done yet.

With more interviews on the horizon for the open GM spot, here’s a look at five candidates that could (or should) be at the top of the list.

Ed Dodds, Assistant General Manager, Indianapolis Colts

Detroit Lions

According to reports, the Lions have scheduled an interview with Dodds on Tuesday for the open general manager position. 

Dodds’ interviewing with the Lions is interesting.

He declined to interview with the Cleveland Browns for its open GM spot last year. Then most recently, he withdrew his name from the GM candidacy list for the Carolina Panthers. One can only assume that there is something about the Lions that piqued his interest.

Dodds has the resume for the position. He’s been with the Colts since 2017 and has a helping hand in keeping the team competitive. And this is despite their inconsistencies at quarterback. During his time as assistant GM, the Colts are 28-20, with two postseason berths. 

Before going to the Colts, Dodds spent ten years with the Seattle Seahawks as a senior personnel executive, where he was responsible for evaluating talent, both college, and pro. 

During that tenure with the Seahawks, they had six winning seasons with five NFC West titles and two Super Bowl appearances, winning one against the Denver Broncos. 

Jeff Ireland, Assistant General Manager/College Scouting Director, New Orleans Saints

Aug 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland looks on prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Dodds is becoming a favorite for Lions’ fans across social media.

Jeff Ireland, however, might be the diamond in the rough. 

Since 2015, the New Orleans Saints have overhauled their scouting department. Proof of that is their 2017 draft class. That year, the Saints selected Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, Ryan Ramczyk, and some guy named Alvin Kamara. After that, the Saints drafted Marcus Davenport (2018), Tre’Quan Smith (2018), and Erik McCoy (2019) in the subsequent drafts. 

Not to forget, the Saints also snagged Michael Thomas in 2016. 

These are all starters or impact players currently for the Saints, and the organization has Ireland to thank for that, as he has an eye for talent. 

All GMs can be a hit or miss on landing talent, but Ireland showcases an ability to find great value outside of the first round. That has been an issue for the Lions for quite some time. 

If he lands the Lions job, expect that same overhaul in Detroit.

Brad Holmes, Director of College Scouting, Los Angeles Rams

Brad Holmes might be the wildcard out of this bunch. His name doesn’t have the same flare to it as others. 

Additionally, Holmes has spent his entire career with the Rams. So he doesn’t have a track record of building rosters with other organizations.

Despite that, he knows what a successful organization looks like and can spot talent. He was instrumental in selecting Jared Goff over Carson Wentz, Aaron Donald, and Todd Gurley. The Rams have went through constant changes in their front office and coaching staff. Holmes has been a mainstay for the Rams.

During his time with the Rams, he’s scouted 25 Pro Bowlers. Two of them have won offensive player of the year (Gurley, 2017) and defensive player of the year (Donald, 2017 and 2018). The Rams hitting it big on Cam Akers is also providing some good returns. 

George Paton, Assistant General Manager/Vice President of Player Personnel, Minnesota Vikings

There are a few reasons that George Paton is an attractive name for the Lions’ open GM position.

At the top of that list is his familiarity with the division. However, according to the NFL Network, Paton may soon head to the Denver Broncos for the same role.

In 14 seasons with the Vikings, Paton has helped make constant changes to keep the Vikings’ rosters competitive.

There is also the brotherly connection.

Paton also works under Rick Spielman, the brother of Chris Spielman, who the Lions recently appointed as the special advisor to team president Rod Wood.

So there are ties to the front office. 

Outside of that, there are no notable names or transactions that he was a part of or aided in acquiring. 

Paton knows the inner workings of the NFC North. Along with that, it’s safe to surmise he knows quite a bit about the Lions organization. 

He might know better than any candidate they’ve interviewed so far.

John Dorsey, former NFL executive

The Detroit Lions have interviewed over 12 candidates for the open GM position. 

One name missing from that list of candidates is John Dorsey.

At first thought, Dorsey’s name should not be on this list. His inability to make great coaching hires is a stain on him. Let’s not forget, Dorsey has an 0-16 season with the Cleveland Browns attached to his resume. He hired Hue Jackson as the Browns head coach, and the rest is history.

Literally.

Before Jackson coached the Browns to that 0-16 season, they went 1-15 in the previous season under him.

Dorsey allowed Jackson to have a third season with back-to-back years producing historically bad results. 

Detroit Lions team president Rod Wood stated that there’s a possibility that they hire a coach before a GM.

If that is the case, and Dorsey doesn’t have the power to fire/hire another coach, then he should be the guy. None can spot talent like him, nor are courageous enough to make bold moves of all the candidates listed.

He’s responsible for drafting and acquiring talent for three teams currently in the playoffs. 

First, there’s his time with the Green Bay Packers. It’s not only where he started his career in the NFL as a player, but subsequently as an executive. He’s won two Super Bowls with them as a scout/director of college scouting. Dorsey was instrumental in drafting Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings, and that guy named Aaron Rodgers. 

Secondly is his stint with the Kansas City Chiefs. Dorsey had a few questionable front office decisions that stain his reputation. Nonetheless, they have him to thank for their latest Super Bowl. Without Dorsey, there is no indication that the Chiefs would have selected Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill. That three-headed monster spearhead the Chiefs offense is currently poised to make its second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl. 

Dorsey drafted Kareem Hunt during his time with the Chiefs as well.

Lastly is his stint with the Cleveland Browns. As mentioned above, Dorsey couldn’t pick a coach to save his life. Regardless, he helped build one hell of a roster during his time there. 

Dorsey boldly selected Baker Mayfield with the first pick of the 2018 draft. Draft experts felt that the Browns could have selected Saquon Barkley with the first overall pick. The Browns could have then selected Mayfield with the fourth overall pick, as they had two top-five picks. 

Instead, they drafted Denzel Ward from Ohio State with the fourth pick. Ward became a Pro Bowler in his rookie season. In that same draft, the Browns selected Nick Chubb in the second round. They then turned around and drafted key-contributor Antonio Callaway in the fourth round.

It didn’t stop there either.

He made bold trades for Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., and controversially signed Kareem Hunt after his domestic incident.

The Detroit Lions have not given any indication of the direction. There is no clue as to who is the favorite to land the GM position. If they plan to rebuild in the most sensible way, however, it should be one of these five candidates.

Contact Kory Woods at kory@woodwardsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @koryewoods.

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