Top candidates to replace Bob Quinn as Detroit Lions general manager

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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Five candidates to replace Bob Quinn as Detroit Lions general manager after Quinn was fired Saturday:

Will McClay

Current job: Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel.

Why he makes sense: The Lions asked for permission to interview McClay during their last GM search, but McClay turned down the request. It won’t be easy to get him to leave Dallas; he also turned down a chance to interview for the Houston Texans GM job in 2018 and reports to only owner Jerry Jones in the Cowboys front office. But he’d come with a background in coaching and scouting, and he has a respected eye for talent.

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John Dorsey

Current job: None.

Why he makes sense: General managers rarely get recycled in the NFL, and Dorsey has run two teams already, so he’s a bit of an unconventional candidate. He was fired in Kansas City in the summer of 2017 over concerns about his management style, and he spent two years with the mess of the organization that is the Cleveland Browns. But Dorsey’s record as a talent evaluator is sterling. He traded up for Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft, took Baker Mayfield for the Browns and has infused both rosters with blue-chip players such as Chris Jones, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Nick Chubb. As a bonus, Dorsey worked with Eric Bieniemy in Kansas City and could help the Lions land the most sought-after assistant of this hiring cycle.

Mike Borgonzi

Current job: Kansas City Chiefs director of football operations.

Why he makes sense: If the Lions want Bieniemy as head coach, and don’t want to go the retread route, hiring another well thought of Chiefs talent evaluator in Borgonzi makes sense. In fact, hiring Borgonzi makes sense even if Bieniemy is not their top choice. Borgonzi is Ivy League educated, having played at Brown, and got his start as a small college coach before jumping to the Chiefs in 2009. He has worked on the college and pro scouting side in Kansas City and helped manage the team from a football operations standpoint. While Dorsey and current Chiefs GM Brett Veach have undoubtedly pulled the trigger on Kansas City’s most important moves in recent years, Borgonzi has played a significant role in making the Chiefs a perennial Super Bowl contender.

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Louis Riddick

Current job: ESPN analyst.

Why he makes sense: Going back to the broadcast booth to hire a general manager might be a tough sell for Lions fans, but Riddick is different from Matt Millen in that he has front office experience. On the personnel side, Riddick worked as a pro scout for both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington, and he ascended to director of pro personnel in both spots. He has limited experience as a college scout and was reported to be a package deal with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during previous searches, which might be another tough sell in Detroit. But Riddick’s profile has only increased with his TV work and he’s bound to return to the league eventually.

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Ed Dodds

Current job: Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager.

Why he makes sense: Another well-respected front-office executive, Dodds has a long track record of success as both a pro and college scout. He wore a variety of hats during his 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks (2007-16), where he helped the team win five NFC West titles and one Super Bowl, and he has been instrumental in rebuilding the Colts’ roster the last four years as GM Chris Ballard’s right-hand man. Dodds has been picky about which jobs he has interviewed for, turning down a chance to meet with the Cleveland Browns last year, so there’s no guarantee he’d talk to the Lions.

Others to watch

Rick Smith, ex-Houston Texans GM: Ready to return to the NFL after a three-year absence to care for his sick wife; his last first-round draft pick was Deshaun Watson.

Thomas Dimitroff, ex-Atlanta Falcons GM: Fired in October, was an area scout for the Lions in the mid-90s.

Joe Hortiz, Baltimore Ravens director of college scouting: Long-time Ravens scout will have to leave Baltimore if he wants a GM job.

Trent Kirchner, Seattle Seahawks vice president of player personnel: Lions requested an interview with Kirchner last time they hired a GM, but never completed it.

Scott Fitterer, Seattle Seahawks vice president of football operations: Teams with Kirchner under GM John Schneider to give Seattle one of the NFL’s best front offices.

Eliot Wolf, New England Patriots consultant: The son of Hall-of-Fame NFL GM Ron Wolf is better known for his Green Bay roots than his current role in New England.

Reggie McKenzie, Miami Dolphins senior personnel executive: Ex-Raiders GM was NFL Executive of the Year candidate one year before being displaced by the Jon Gruden hiring.

George Paton, Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager: Like McClay, turned down a chance to interview with the Lions in 2016.

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network analyst: His predecessor on NFL Network draft coverage, Mike Mayock, has done a good job as Raiders GM.

Ray Farmer, Los Angeles Rams scouting consultant: Had a short-lived tenure as Cleveland Browns GM, when he never got to hire his own coach.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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