Lions team president Rod Wood said this week the virtual interview process for their vacant general manager and head coach positions has allowed them to be more efficient and able to interview more candidates without having to travel. Wood said once they determine finalists, they will do in-person interviews when applicable.
The Lions continued the general manager search this week by completing interviews with Minnesota Vikings vice president, player personnel/assistant general manager George Paton and Los Angeles Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes.
Paton completed his 14th season with the Vikings in 2020, serving as the club's assistant general manager working alongside general manager Rick Spielman. Paton and Spielman have worked together on personnel staffs in Chicago and Miami as well as Minnesota.
Paton began his NFL career in the college and pro scouting departments in Chicago. He was the Bears' assistant director of pro personnel in 2000. He spent six seasons with Miami as director of pro personnel from 2001-06.
Paton's primary focus as the assistant general manager in Minnesota has been to coordinate scouting and personnel functions within the Vikings pro scouting department and lend his expertise to the college scouting department as they prepare for the NFL Draft, per the Vikings team website.
Holmes, 41, has spent the entirety of his 18-year career in the NFL with the Rams. He began as a public relations intern in 2003 and moved into scouting the following year as a scouting assistant. Holmes worked as a national combine scout, area scout and national scout before becoming the director of college scouting in 2013.
The Rams have had 25 Pro Bowlers over Holmes' time with the team, including 2017 Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley, 2017 and 2018 Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Jared Goff.
"He's become a valued voice in our organization as part of our leadership team on social justice and diversity issues, helping us lead a diverse group of people," Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff told ESPN of Holmes. "Brad is one of the more valued voices we have in our building."
So far the Lions have interviewed Saints vice president/assistant GM and pro personnel director Terry Fontenot, former Texans GM Rick Smith, former Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick for their vacant GM position, along with internal candidates Kyle O'Brien, Lance Newmark and Rob Lohman.