The Lions announced on Thursday that they’ve established an advisory board to lead the search for a new general manager, while continuing to consult with the league’s career development advisory panel. That panel has met twice already and will meet twice more before the end of the season, but Tom Pelissero of USA Today has already learned the identities of five of the leading candidates.
According to Pelissero, some of the early frontrunners are Chiefs director of football operations Chris Ballard, Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, Vikings assistant GM George Paton, Jaguars director of player personnel Chris Polian, and Packers director of player personnel Eliot Wolf. All five executives have been linked to the job in one fashion or another, though many have speculated that the Lions will not be able to lure Wolf away from Green Bay, where he is thought to be the heir apparent to the GM job. Ballard and DeCosta, two highly-respected NFL execs, were on last year’s list cultivated by the panel. The Jets used the panel last year to make their hire of Mike Maccagnan, who was then the Texans’ director of college scouting.
On Thursday afternoon, the Lions hired Rod Wood as the team’s new president, taking over the position previously held by Tom Lewand. Wood, of course, will be an integral part of the team’s advisory board to find its next GM. That group also includes owner Martha Firestone Ford and the team’s board of directors and vice chairmen, all of whom are members of the Ford family.