The Detroit Lions hiring of Brad Holmes shows they plan on getting back to relevancy once again.
He was actually hired as a public-relations intern but moved into scouting, where he has been quite successful for the Rams. The hiring of Holmes clearly shows that the Lions believe their best path to contention is through drafting and developing well.
As opposed to former GM Bob Quinn, who was the Director of Pro Personnel with the Patriots, all of Holmes’s experience is in scouting and drafting college players. Famously, he was a big part of the selections of Jared Goff and Aaron Donald, who led the Rams to the Super Bowl.
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However, one of his main selling points is the depth of the Rams’ draft classes. The Rams have not picked in the first round since 2016, but they still have had found ways to find contributors throughout the draft.
Since he was promoted in 2013 to Director of College Scouting, there are plenty of examples of finding great value throughout the draft.
Cooper Kupp is the most notable as the former third-round pick has become one of the league’s better receivers.
Fifth-round pick David Edwards and second-round pick Rob Havenstein both are solid starters on the offensive line.
Even more recently, in this year’s draft, Cam Akers is starting at running back, and sixth-round pick Jordan Fuller has locked down a safety spot and is looking like one of the draft’s steals.
For a team with as many needs as the Lions do, the draft is the best way to build their roster. They will need to do acquire above average starters and game-changers in the early rounds, and in the later rounds, find solid starters and other players who can fill more specialized roles.
If they can do this and supplement the roster with savvy free agents, the Lions can return to the playoffs sooner than expected. With the current rookie pay scale, drafting well is the best way to improve a mediocre roster.
Not only will you be able to young starters, but the savings under the pay scale allow the front office to retain key pieces to large contracts or use free agency to get even more talent. But if you do not draft well, it is impossible to build a team using just free agency, so it is crucial to do well in the draft.
Right now, it is impossible to tell if Holmes was a smart hire or not, but that would be true of whoever the Lions hired. What we do know is the Lions plan should be to retool their roster through the draft, and they just hired one of the most well-respected scouts in the NFL to do that.
On paper, this seems like a smart move, and hopefully, for the Detroit Lions, this is the one that finally works out.