The Detroit Lions may have not mad significant changes to their coaching staff following a terribly disappointing 2012 season in which they went 4-12. They have not fired anyone whose contract was not up. They have now hired Brian Xanders to be a senior player personnel guy, and it looks like his first task will be to alter how the Lions evaluate players.
Xanders served as the General Manger for the Denver Broncos, and it was he who led a player personnel department that helped the Broncos rebuild through the draft and free agency. His team was also able to lure very attractive and productive free agents to Denver that speeded that team's rebuilding project.
The Lions now have a proven NFL evaluator in the room helping guide decisions making. Let us not forget that the Lions are still a team being run by a first time GM, and a first time head coach.
On top of that he has made excellent additions to his team through free agency. Most notable for the Lions is in 2009 he acquired eight new starters for his defense all of whom helped the Broncos improve their on that side of the ball extraordinarily.
Long time Lions fans will have a hard time accepting that this is a good move. They have been sold on these kinds of moves in the past, but the best available evidence suggests that the Lions fundamental problem was how they were evaluating talent. Simply put they took flyers on guys in higher rounds of the NFL draft that has set back their rebuilding process.
Now with Xanders in the room and with a new system for evaluating talent in place those kinds of mistakes can be avoided or lessening their impact by doing them in the later rounds of the draft. Simply put the Lions are not a good enough team to take the kinds of risks they have taken in the second and third rounds of the draft. Hopefully Xanders will help them in that regard.