The Detroit Lions are in the midst of a general manager search, led by former general manager Ernie Accorsi. Accorsi has laid the groundwork since late November for finding the franchise’s next architect. The list of candidates, as far as we know at this point, is at four and the expectations are that the interviews will be completed this weekend and a hiring will take place next week. The four candidates we know of for certain are Sheldon White, Trent Kirchner, Bob Quinn, and Kevin Abrams. All of the candidates, with the exception of White, who is the current interim general manager, have a Super Bowl ring as a result of the work they have done with their current teams which was likely the criteria Accorsi put in place when picking candidates.
The Lions also did request permission to speak to a few other candidates but were turned down by the candidates themselves. The candidates that turned down interviews likely did so as a result of their current position with their team and family concerns. With that being said, lets take a closer look at the four confirmed interviewees and why the would be good fits for the Detroit Lions.
Sheldon White – Detroit Lions – Interim General Manager / Vice President of Pro Personnel
Sheldon White has been with the Detroit Lions front office in some capacity for almost 20 years. He has been the Vice President of Pro Personnel since 2009. He advocated for the signing of George Johnson and Rashean Mathis after Martin Mayhew decided that both players would not bring enough to the team to sign them. Both players were major contributors while in Detroit. The big knock on White is more of a preference thing. He has been with Detroit for 19 seasons. That means he was here for the Millen failures as well as the Mayhew failures. Fans do not want him in charge because they want a fresh start. Ownership is undecided, which is why they hired Accorsi to oversee the hiring process.
Trent Kirchner – Seattle Seahawks – Co-Director of Player Personnel
Kirchner is one of the three known candidates with a Super Bowl ring. He came to Seattle in 2010 and helped build them into a Super Bowl team. Before Seattle, he was in the college and pro scouting departments for Washington and Carolina. In Seattle, he was in the Player and Pro Personnel departments giving him a well rounded background necessary for being a good general manager. The only concerns with Kirchner are the player personalities that the Seattle Seahawks have acquired while he has been there. They drafter Frank Clark and Percy Harvin who have discipline and personality issues that could corrupt a locker room that does not contain strong leadership.
Bob Quinn – New England Patriots – Director of Pro Scouting
Quinn has considerably less background than Trent Kirchner. Quinn has only been with the New England Patriots throughout his career. He has spent time in Player Personnel, Pro Personnel, and scouting throughout his time in New England. He did however win four Super Bowls as a result of his work with the Patriots. While Bill Belichick did give an endorsement of him to the media, but everyone knows in New England that Belichick is the one making the calls. Quinn does deserve credit for the Wes Welker acquisition which at the time looked silly, but in the end was a huge move for the franchise.
Kevin Abrams – New York Giants – Assistant General Manager
Abrams has 14 years of experience as the assistant general manager of the New York Giants, during which they have won two Super Bowls. Abrams worked with Ernie Accorsi during his time and was originally hired by the Giants to be their Salary Cap Analyst. One of the strongest points of his abilities are his salary cap abilities. He knows the rules of the cap very well and would be an asset to the team for that reason alone. His lack of experience in the scouting departments are a concern, as well as his lack of experience in Pro and Player Personnel. His 14 seasons as an assistant general manager with him basically learning on the job make up for that a bit when compared to the other candidates who have Pro and Player Personnel experence as well as scouting experience but no general manager experience.
In all, any of the three candidates not named Sheldon White bring a winning culture with them. They all have a Super Bowl ring and at least one other Super Bowl appearance. The big question though is which of them has the right vision for the franchise to build the Detroit Lions into a perennial winner and not the “same old Lions” fans have become accustomed to seeing every year.