Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions hire Brian Xanders as Senior Personnel Executive

Posted Jan 28, 2013

Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew says Brian Xanders has been brought in to build an in-house, electronic scouting system as well as help evaluate the current process

Brian Xanders

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said after the season that he was going to look very closely at every avenue possible to improve the football team from the roster, to the coaching staff to the front office.

Mayhew took a step to improve the latter on Monday with the addition of former Denver Broncos general manager Brian Xanders as a senior personnel executive.

Xanders will report directly to Mayhew.

"Brian is a guy I've known for a while as a GM in Denver," Mayhew said. "He has a broad array of experience in a lot of different area and he's another set of eyes on the pro and college scouting.

"He's also a guy who's well-versed in football technology and I think he brings something to the table in that area as well."

One of Xanders' first responsibilities with the Detroit Lions is setting up an in-house scouting system.

"One big thing he's going to be working on right now is building a new scouting system," Mayhew said. "We've contracted that out in the past and bought product from other people and we're actually going to build our own system internally designed strictly for us that we can design and set up."

Xanders has experience building such a system in Atlanta in the 90s, which was one of the first systems built internally like that.

He spent his first 14 seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons in player personnel, college scouting, pro scouting, coaching and football operations.

"I look forward to doing everything I can to help Martin and coach (Jim) Schwartz and this organization eventually win a Super Bowl," Xanders told "I've had a lot of different experiences and know I can help in a lot of different ways."

Xanders joined the Broncos as assistant general manager under coach Mike Shanahan in 2008 and was promoted to general manager following Josh McDaniels' hiring as head coach a year later.

The Broncos' drafts in 2010 and 2011 were among the league's best. The 2010 draft produced starters like receiver Demaryius Thomas, quarterback Tim Tebow, guard Zane Beadles, receiver Eric Decker, center J.D. Walton and cornerback Perrish Cox.

In 2011, linebacker Von Miller, the No. 2-overall pick, was named the NFL defensive rookie of the year.

Offensive tackle Orlando Franklin, who was the team's second-round pick, started all 16 games as a rookie and all 16 games again this season.

Safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter have started a combined 32 games the last two seasons.

Undrafted free agent cornerback Chris Harris was also a great find, starting 12 games opposite Champ Bailey this season.

"Transitioning over (from the Falcons) to the Broncos and coach Shanahan for the one year in 2008, and then implementing this player personnel system over the last four years, we were successful in free agency and the draft," Xanders said. "I just look forward to helping Martin and his staff in every way possible."

Those 2010 and 2011 drafts in Denver produced the most starts (155) and playing time (more than 12,000 snaps) of any rookie classes in the NFL, according to The Denver Post.

"It goes to his evaluation skill," Mayhew said. "That's attractive to me. A guy who has a background as a GM and did a good job acquiring talent in Denver. I know he's a great evaluator."

Xanders will help to improve the position-specific structure already in place in the personnel office and adds another set of eyes to help determine how players will best fit a role with the Detroit Lions.

Xanders and James Harris, who's been with the Lions the last four years, will share the title of Senior Personnel Executive.