The early returns on the Lions' 2013 draft class, which included Ziggy Ansah, are favorable, though Martin Mayhew says it's too soon to make a complete analysis. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Detroit – After one year as the Lions’ senior personnel executive, Brian Xanders could be leaving soon for another shot as a general manager.
Xanders interviewed this week for the GM job with the Miami Dolphins, and the interview stretched over two days, according to Pro Football Talk.
Before joining the Lions, Xanders spent four seasons as GM for the Denver Broncos. And though Xanders would be missed in Detroit, Lions GM Martin Mayhew wouldn’t be surprised to see Xanders land a new gig.
“We would miss him, but I’d be very happy for him,” Mayhew said Wednesday after introducing Jim Caldwell as the Lions’ 26th head coach.
While Mayhew was still the primary decision maker regarding personnel in 2013, he said Xanders helped organize some of the ways the Lions evaluated players.
“He was very, very helpful,” Mayhew said. “He did a lot of stuff in terms of our organization and data, and he’s a good evaluator, too. He brought some stuff from Denver that was very helpful for us. He did a really good job.”
The Lions’ 2013 draft class had the most immediate impact of any since Mayhew took over as GM in October 2008.
Defensive end Ziggy Ansah, the fifth overall pick, led all rookies with eight sacks, third-round pick Larry Warford started every game at right guard and fifth-round pick Sam Martin was a top-10 punter in nearly all statistics. Cornerback Darius Slay, a second-round pick, started four games, and sixth-round running back Theo Riddick was a key special teams contributor.
The Lions also did well to find promising undrafted free agents. LaAdrian Waddle started eight games at right tackle, and tight end Joseph Fauria had 18 catches for 207 yards and seven touchdowns, including three scores in a Week 6 win over the Browns.
However, Mayhew said it’s still too early to judge the 2013 class.
“When we have a draft class that doesn’t play that much, obviously I say it’s too early,” he said. “It’s still too early. I will say early returns are good, but they’ve got a long way to go in terms of being what they can be.”