The Detroit Lions have gone from 3-13-1 to 12-5 and in the NFC Championship Game over three seasons. On the same day head coach Dan Campbell was named a finalist for AP Coach of the year, general manager Brad Holmes was named NFL Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Holmes is first Lions' front office executive to win the award, which has been given out since 1993.
Holmes has built the young core in Detroit quickly in three drafts. His first draft class has two first-team All-Pros this year (Penei Sewell, Amon-Ra St. Brown), and Ifeatu Melifonwu and Derrick Barnes have become key pieces of the Lions' defense this year. The 2022 draft (Aidan Hutchinson, Jameson Williams, Josh Paschal, Kerby Joseph, Malcolm Rodriguez, James Houston) added more pieces to the equation. The 2023 draft class (Jahmyr Gibbs, Jack Campbell, Sam LaPorta, Brian Branch) looks like the best yet for Holmes. Gibbs and LaPorta are among the finalists for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Last offseason, Holmes was more aggressive in free agency to supplement that core of young players, adding cornerback Cameron Sutton, running back David Montgomery and guard Graham Glasgow, while re-signing linebacker Alex Anzalone and bringing back linebacker and Pro Bowl special teamer Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
Brad Holmes was easy choice for PFWA Executive of the Year
Let's let the PFWA's official news release speak on why Holmes won their Executive of the Year award.
"Holmes directed the Lions return to a division title and the NFC’s No. 3 seed in 2023. Detroit was 12-5 this season, which tied for the most victories in a season in Lions history. The Lions were 6-3 on the road, tying a franchise road victory record, and the club did not lose consecutive games the entire season for the first time since 1962. The Lions also won seven games by 10 or more points for the first time since 1997."
Holmes taken the Lions' roster from the ashes of the Bob Quinn-Matt Patricia era and made it into what looks like a sustainable contender for years to come. And he's done it in three years, led by turning his first move (the Matthew Stafford trade) into the draft picks that (including some trades) yielded Gibbs, LaPorta, Williams, Melifonwu, Paschal and Brodric Martin. Oh, and Jared Goff of course also came over in the Stafford trade.