Last year, Detroit Lions senior personnel executive Brian Xanders interviewed for the Miami Dolphins' general manager job. There was some fear that the Lions might lose Xanders, but he ultimately ended up staying in Detroit.
This year, the Lions may be in danger of losing Sheldon White, who is their vice president of pro personnel. White has been with the Lions for nearly two decades, but the Philadelphia Eagles reportedly want to interview him for their general manager job. It's unclear if or when that interview will happen, but Lions general manager Martin Mayhew thinks White is deserving of a GM job of his own.
"He's always looking, he's always in his office evaluating tape and trying to find players that can help us win. I think he'd be a great general manager in the National Football League. I think he's doing a phenomenal job of it and I hope he gets an opportunity."
Mayhew highlighted two specific signings in recent years as examples of what White brings to the table.
"Rashean Mathis, for example, was a guy that he saw on tape and when he brought up his desire to work Rashean out, I was against it. I was saying, ‘This is an older guy, how is this guy going to help us?' He talked me into working him out and he had a phenomenal workout. He was exceptional in every way, shape and form, so we ended up signing him. Obviously, he's worked out great for us the last two years having Rashean here.
"George Johnson is a guy who he brought to me who I had never seen; we signed him. I had never seen him on tape at the time that we signed him, and as you know George made our team this year and was a big time contributor for us."
Those are just two examples, but those both ended up being extremely impressive signings for the Lions. Mathis signed with the Lions in mid-August before the 2013 season and quickly became a starter, and he really was solid for the team again in 2014. Plus, he's really become a mentor of sorts for Darius Slay, which is an added bonus.
And as for Johnson, he was basically out of football when the Lions signed him last April. He appeared to be nothing more than a camp body, but Johnson ended up making the team, and he went on to record 29 tackles and 6.0 sacks in 2014.
It remains to be seen at this point if White will stick around for at least another season, but clearly other teams are taking notice of what the Lions are building here in Detroit. From Xanders' interview with Miami last year, to defensive coordinator Teryl Austin's various head coaching interviews this year, to White's potential interview with the Eagles, the Lions are now in a position where other teams want to speak with members of their organization about jobs. That's certainly a nice change from when the Lions' front office and coaching staff were the laughingstock of the NFL not too long ago.