Who can come in and save the Lions? Scouts Inc.'s pro scouts answer this and other hot topics heading into Week 16.
1. Who should the Lions hire as their next GM?
Jeremy Green: I know there has been some talk about New England's Scott Pioli, but why would he leave the Patriots? I am going to go with a name a lot people outside the NFL do not know, but he has been a cog everywhere he has been -- Atlanta assistant director of player personnel Lionel Vital. Vital spent 2001-2004 with the Patriots and current Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff as the assistant director of college scouting. He spent time as a national scout in Baltimore under GM Ozzie Newsome. I look at the success Dimitroff has had in Atlanta and the track record of Vital, who has been with three very good GMs now in New England, Baltimore and Atlanta. Detroit needs an infusion of new blood and new ideas in the personnel side and Vital, with his detailed organization and eye for talent, would be a great fit.
Gary Horton: How about Pioli? As much success as he has had with the Pats, this is still recognized as Bill Belichick's team and it always will be. Pioli has done an excellent job in acquiring talent and he knows how to build a team, as he is working under arguably the best talent-evaluating head coach that we have ever seen in Belichick. People around the league have felt for a long time that Detroit is a good job, with resources and good ownership. Pioli would be given the keys to the car in a city that is desperate for success. This would be his team and he could build it from the ground up.
Keith Kidd: If they don't take the interim tag off of Martin Mayhew and make him the GM, I'm going to keep it within the division and hire Bears director of pro personnel Bobby DePaul. DePaul is very underrated and knows how to evaluate NFL talent. He has been brought up from the ground floor of the organization and understands the political atmosphere of running a football operations department because he works in the day-to-day office structure. He can unite people and, as a former NFL assistant coach, really understands the game. He has a great understanding of salary cap, while identifying true value as it pertains to mapping out a long-term plan and program that can get this organization turned around and back on track.
Doug Kretz: The first thing the Lions need to consider when looking for a new general manager is finding a guy who is not afraid to surround himself with smart people. He has to have the kind of confidence that is not going to be threatened by people who may appear to be smarter than him. They also need to look for a football person. Most of the successful programs have football people running the team, guys who have spent time in personnel and coaching and understand the dynamics between coaching a player and scouting one. If the Ford family is going to bring in a new GM, they should do it before the draft so the new person has some say in what his team is going to look like next season. That means hiring someone who is either currently available, or can be promoted off another team's staff. The first guy that comes to mind is someone that has spent years scouring the bushes as a scout and has also spent a lot of time in the front office for Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Jacksonville -- Charles Bailey.
Ken Moll: There are several people who could be considered, but I would go with Floyd Reese. The Lions don't need to just throw a bunch of money after big names (Scott Pioli, for example) who are excellent but have been successful more because of their head coach than an outstanding roster. Another huge consideration should be the candidate's availability. Whoever takes the helm needs to be put in place ASAP. That person needs to have his hands all over this year's free agency as well as the 2009 draft. Bringing someone on board without the chance to influence personnel decisions would be a huge mistake. Reese has over 30 years in the league, most recently with the Titans, and his track record shows he can put together a solid NFL roster. He had several playoff appearances as well as a Super Bowl run while in Nashville. Reese was part of the Detroit organization many years ago and understands the lay of the land, as well as the ownership and any possible baggage that goes with this franchise.
Matt Williamson: As a result of the vast success that he has been a part of in New England, Pioli seems like the most logical choice, but luring him away might prove difficult. Still, he understands how an organization should be run in all capacities and might be able to get the Lions on track to some degree as another former New England front office member, Tom Dimitroff, did with the Falcons.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.