Lions general manager Brad Holmes said he respects the work that goes into putting together mock drafts, but he clearly, ultimately doesn’t really care about them.
On the first night of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected two players at positions generally not picked in the first round these days. Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs was a surprise pick at 12th overall, after the Lions traded back from the No. 6 pick. At pick No. 18, Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell was another surprising choice.
Lions general manager Brad Holmes was clearly willing to go against the consensus, and he conveyed that in public comments.
Some Lions fans and draft experts, such as ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., were left scratching their heads at the two players Holmes picked.
NFL draft analytics don’t like running backs and linebackers as positions of value in the first round. Gibbs and Campbell were widely mocked as second-round picks. Pro Football Focused ranked both players highly at their positions (Gibbs No. 2, Campbell No. 1).
Lions general manager Brad Holmes doesn’t care very much about mock drafts
During pre-draft and post-first-round press conferences, Holmes emphasized how writers do not possess all the necessary information when they make mock drafts. On that topic, one quote stood out from Thursday night.
"Again, it’s no disrespect to the mock drafts, I get it, man. It’s not the guys that everybody has in their mock drafts and all that stuff, and frankly, we don’t care.”"
Holmes’ sentiment on mock drafts is certainly shared among his fellow general managers around the league. And it’s annually proven by how few first-round picks are gotten right in said mocks.
The second day of the 2023 NFL Draft (second and third rounds) starts Friday night at 7:00 PM ET. The Lions now have three picks in the second round (No. 34, No. 48, and No. 55), via the aforementioned trade down with the Cardinals. The Lions gave up their third-round pick (No. 81) in that deal.
There is plenty of talent still left on the board in this draft. The Lions are lined to add some premium players on Day 2, after an against the grain, defying the mock drafts double-down in the first round.