The 2021 NFL draft prospects have been ranked, trade discussions have been had, and Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes is determined to not “anchor” himself when it comes to adding the right “football players” to the roster.
With the Lions holding the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, Holmes believes the team has an “extremely valuable” position heading into Day 1 of the draft.
“Whenever you’re picking in the top-10, obviously it’s an extremely valued pick,” Holmes said at his pre-draft press conference. “It’s very exciting to be looking at this crop of players that would be worthy of selecting. Where I just came from, I wasn’t really used to picking in the first round that much, being up in the top 10. But at No. 7, we do have a cluster of players that we’re comfortable with picking. At the same time, we will be very prepared and also to move in either direction. We’re still open in those regards, but there are a cluster of players that we’d be comfortable with.”
Holmes confirmed he has had conversations with other teams about making a potential trade. While most media/fans are focused on a team potentially trading up for a quarterback, Holmes suggested there might be a non-quarterback that another team may “covet”.
Holmes mentioned that through his previous conversations with other general managers, he has gathered enough information to know if a certain player is available at a certain spot, that specific teams may be willing to trade up with the Lions for the pick: “That’s just knowing the whole scope of the Draft and also having an incredible pro (personnel) department”.
Those conversations often lead to teams agreeing on the majority of details in a potential trade with just a few details to be worked out when a team is on the clock—but things are far from set in stone until those situations present themselves.
While the Lions are clearly open for business with pick No. 7, Holmes says there is no floor for how far they are willing to trade back.
“No, I wouldn’t say that there’s a floor,” Holmes continued. “I think that that would probably be pigeonholing yourself. I’m very, very leery of anchors, I would say. I try to avoid as many anchors as possible. You always want to kind of go into it through having a sound process of doing all the work and kind of knowing, ‘OK, well if you did slide back here, then you’re looking at this subset of players potentially, so how do we feel about these players?’”
While Holmes declined to put a number on how far he was willing to drop into the first round, there is a point where the talent drops a tier, typically somewhere in the lower teens. That would put teams like the New England Patriots (pick No. 15) and Washington Football Team (No. 19) in a situation where they would have to give up significantly more draft capital than the Denver Broncos who pick No. 9 overall.
There are likely to be a lot of scenarios when the Lions are on the clock and Holmes appears open to explore them all.