Although the first major event of the pre-draft rookie evaluation period has begun - the practices for the East-West Shrine Game - the Buccaneers are yet to find a replacement for fired GM Mark Dominik. This should be a mild concern, as the next general manager will have final say over the draft; well, it appears that the Glazers have found some sense of urgency, as the GM search could be nearing its end.
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported last night that Atlanta Falcons Director of Player Personnel, Lionel Vital, has been invited back for a second interview. Vital is currently considered the favourite for the position, which would make the Falcons' Director of Player Personnel the most fertile breeding ground for general managers in the NFL - the previous two incumbents, Dave Caldwell and Les Snead, were hired as general managers in Jacksonville and St. Louis respectively.
However, Vital isn't the only one being brought back in. Pro Football Talk subsequently reported that other candidates were also receiving second interviews. While PFT did not mention any specific names, the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud later tweeted that two of the other candidates to receiver second interviews are "believed" to be Tennessee Titans' VP of Player Personnel Lake Dawson, and New York Giants' VP of Player Evaluation Marc Ross.
Stroud's tweet did not make it clear whether Dawson and Ross would be the only two other candidates to receiver second interviews, or merely two out of however many other candidates there may be. The only names we've heard seriously attached to the position are Vital, Dawson, Ross, Morocco Brown, Tom Gamble and Charlie Ballard, who turned down the position; however, as was made clear during the previous regime change with first Chip Kelly and then Greg Schiano, not all the Glazers' moves are discovered by the media. Regardless, the fact that the search has now progressed to second interviews should hopefully mean that the hunt for a new GM is nearly over - and with the second day of Shrine Game practices beginning in a few hours, not a moment too soon.
UPDATE: NFL Network's Ian Rapaport, via NFL.com's Kevin Patra, confirms that Dawson is in fact receiving a second interview. That was then followed up by this tweet from NFL Network's Jeff Darlington, that seems to imply Morocco Brown is still in the race, too.