You could call Brian Xanders the ‘X’ factor in the Detroit Lions draft starting on Thursday night.
An addition to the staff this offseason, the 42-year-old Xanders brings a new perspective to Detroit after his years of work with the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.
He was hired as a senior personnel executive. He shares the same title with James Harris who has 37 years of NFL experience and has worked for the Lions since 2009.
Xanders, how was the Broncos general manager for four seasons, got caught in the crosshairs when John Elway was brought in as executive vice president in 2011.
The Broncos’ loss is the Lions’ gain.
“He’s been a great hire for us. He’s really helped us. He has perspective from two different organizations, from Atlanta, from Denver. Sort of a fresh perspective and some fresh energy into our dialogue and he’s done some things with the computer system that we’re building right now,’’ Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. “ We haven’t launched it officially yet, but we’re getting some progress from that, some output from that. So, he’s doing a really good job for us.”
It just can’t hurt to get a different set of eyes on the draft prospects along with the current roster players.
“Well, what’s interesting really, is to know kind of what they were thinking in their draft room on our guys. You know, we’ve had a lot of talk about that,’’ Mayhew said. “He’s just been a really good hire for us and just a really good person to lean on with some experience, somebody to talk to. So, he’s been good for us.”
The Lions have a pick in each round with two picks in the seventh round. The NFL draft starts at 8 p.m. Thursday with the first round. It continues at 6:30 p.m. Friday with rounds two and three, and wraps up starting at noon Saturday with rounds four through seven.