Brad Holmes appears to now be 3-for-3 in putting together good drafts, at least based on Next Gen Stats numbers for this year’s group.
In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions had one of the most athletic draft classes in the league as measured by Relative Athletic Score and Next Gen Stats. That was going to hard to fully repeat this year.
But in terms of athleticm scores, combined with production, the Lions’ 2023 draft class got some big props from Next Gen Stats as they landed with the No. 1 overall score ranking and the No. 1 college production score ranking.
The Lions first five picks–Jahmyr Gibbs, Jack Campbell, Sam LaPorta, Brian Branch and Hendon Hooker, set a Next Gen Stats mark not seen in twenty years.
Brad Holmes seems to have gone 3-for-3 in his drafts as Detroit Lions general manager
The selections of Gibbs and Campbell in the top-20 overall drew plenty of ire from the positional value crowd, but Holmes did not care about that and professed the Lions got two of their top guys in this entire draft class. With more time to better assess, even only a few days, those picks look pretty good all things considered.
Holmes rescued his 2023 draft in the eyes on many on Day 2, centered around the picks of LaPorta, Branch and Hooker. Day 3 yielded a couple interesting developmental guys in offensive tackle Colby Sorsdal in the fifth round and wide receiver Antoine Green in the seventh round.
Drafting prospects who have high-level athletic traits are one thing, and certainly better than the alternative of drafting a bunch of slow guys who don’t show they move around well in athletic testing.
But do those traits and athletic metrics translate to production on the field? That speaks to combining athleticism with football instincts. Looking at Gibbs, Campbell, Branch, LaPorta and Hooker, they were all very productive in college.
Ultimately, the instant reviews of the Lions’ 2023 draft class have turned very good after a “controversial” first round. Time will tell if Holmes got it right, but it tentatively looks like he is now 3-for-3 in his drafts as the Lions general manager.