Lions general manager Brad Holmes simply outshines his peers in the draft

Brad Holmes has quickly built the Detroit Lions into a Super Bowl contender, and the draft is where he's done his best work.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

When Brad Holmes was hired as the general manager of the Detroit Lions in 2021, he was left to rebuild a roster from the ashes of the "Quinntricia" era. He also had a veteran quarterback who didn't want any part of another rebuild, rightfully so if we're being honest, and Holmes gave him his wish to be traded.

Holmes has done things in largely his own way, and that was no more evident than with the immediate reactions to the Lions' 2023 draft class. Taking a running back and an off-ball linebacker in the top-20 overall was blasphemy to evaluators and positional value wonks, but it worked out well. In the first two rounds of last year's draft, the Lions selected four immediate contributors to last year's run to the NFC title game.

During his season-ending press conference, Holmes made it clear he has kept some of those draft criticism receipts going back to his first draft as Lions' general manager. In terms of the 2023 draft class alone, Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta were rookie Pro Bowlers.

Brad Holmes has outshined his peers in the draft

In a piece looking back at last year's draft class and looking a little bit ahead to this year's draft, where the Lions have three of the first 73 picks, ESPN's Eric Woodyard dropped this bit of information.

"Holmes and Campbell have earned the benefit of the doubt. In his three years in Detroit, Holmes has drafted five Pro Bowlers (Penei Sewell, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Aidan Hutchinson, Gibbs and LaPorta). That's three more than any other team during that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information."

That the Lions have drafted five Pro Bowlers in Holmes' three drafts, at least one in each, is not breaking news. That it's three more Pro Bowlers than any other team has drafted over that span is more telling, and a year from now one more could very well be added to the list (Alim McNeill).

Holmes has been clear about using the draft to add talent, without being married to the idea of strictly filling needs. What he's doing is obviously working, and it's working better than any of his peers in terms of selecting Pro Bowlers over his three completed drafts.

Next. Re-grading the Detroit Lions 2023 draft one year later. Re-grading the Detroit Lions 2023 draft one year later. dark