On Thursday morning, the Detroit Lions confirmed the completed interviews of George Paton and Brad Holmes for their general manager vacancy. Per previous reports, both Holmes and Paton interviewed on Tuesday.
Paton is an interesting candidate for a few reasons. First, he’s spent most of his career with the Vikings, serving as the team’s assistant general manager for the past 14 years. Over that time, the team drafted some elite defensive talent that has kept that team competitive on that side of the ball for over a decade: Players like Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, and Everson Griffen.
He’s also a serious candidate because Minnesota’s GM is Rick Spielman, the brother of Chris Spielman, who has a prominent voice in the general manager search since being hired as the team’s special assistant to the chairman and president and CEO.
Then there’s this interesting note from NFL Network's’ Ian Rapoport.
On Tuesday, team president Rod Wood noted that all of the interviews done thus far—except for the in-house candidates—have been virtual and that they’d continue that way throughout the rest of the week. However, he said once they start narrowing the search, they’ll do in-person interviews for finalists.
“Once we zero in on a finalist or two for either position, we’re definitely going to meet with the person,” Wood said.
That doesn't necessarily mean Paton is considered a finalist. Paton’s Vikings are out of the playoff race, unlike other candidates that can’t be interviewed in person right now (Fontenot, Holmes). He’s also likely in much closer proximity than some of the other candidates. Still, this break in norms seems notable.
Holmes, on the other hand, still has his team in the postseason after finishing their fourth winning season in a row. Holmes has been a trusted mind in that franchise’s scouting department for the past 18 years, slowly rising up the ranks from scout to his current position as the team’s director of college scouting.
Thus far, the Lions have completed 10 interviews for the GM vacancy, and they have at least one more—Jeff Ireland—scheduled. You can track all of the latest candidates here.