The Detroit Lions only made one selection in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but general manager Brad Holmes joined the media in a Zoom session to describe all of the day’s events and the team’s thought process in selecting Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
Here are the five biggest takeaways from his presser late on Thursday night.
The Lions simply had Penei Sewell ranked than Justin Fields
The biggest criticism of the Lions’ pick was simply that they did not get a quarterback when one was available to them. Ohio State’s Justin Fields was still on the board when the Lions were on the clock, but Holmes reasoning for passing on him was simple.
“Obviously, he’s a very, very talented player. There’s no doubt about it, but I will say that we did have Penei ranked higher. So even with him being there in the hopper, we felt better about Penei.”
The Lions received trade down offers
Brad Holmes said the calls for Detroit’s seventh overall pick were heavier before the draft, but when they were on the clock there were still a couple offers coming in.
“At our pick, the phone rang from a couple of teams, but we just felt so good about Penei, it wasn’t intriguing enough for us to risk not landing him,” Holmes said.”
As to the rumor that Detroit’s asking price was too high, Holmes didn’t seem to agree with that report.
“I didn’t get a response that the asking price was too high.”
Sewell was one of three players the Lions were hoping to land
“We just couldn’t be anymore excited than we are about Penei,” Holmes opened his press conference with. “Just really stoked. Going through the process, we got to a point where we pretty much identified three players, and he was one of those three that we would be, let’s just say, through the roof about. So to be able to land him, he’s going to be an integral and impactful piece to our franchise going forward for years to come.”
Holmes wouldn’t reveal the two other players the Lions would have been “through the roof” about, but he did say there were two players they would’ve considered if not for Sewell at 7. One, he said, played a similar position to Sewell, suggesting that Rashawn Slater was close to the pick. Holmes did not offer any hints on the other potential pick other than saying it was a different position.
Sewell is a right tackle
Brad Holmes didn’t hide his intentions with Detroit’s first-round pick. Though Penei Sewell played left tackle at Oregon, the Lions are expecting him to play right tackle in Detroit with Taylor Decker still locking down the blind side.
“As of right now, I definitely think he’ll definitely compete at the right tackle spot.”
Sounds like “best player available” is the strategy for Day 2
“Get the best football player.”
That was Holmes’ description of his strategy in Round 1, and he says that isn’t changing on Day 2.
“We’re not going to anchor ourselves or pigeonhole ourselves into, ‘We’ve got to get this position or that position,’” Holmes said.
He even said if another talented offensive lineman is still on the board when they’re on the clock, then he’ll be the pick.
“If it’s another offensive lineman that’s a high-impact player, than it’s another offensive lineman. If it’s a defensive back, then it’s a defensive back. Whoever’s the best football player for us to make sure that we can get the most competitive team as we can through our efforts, then that’s where we’re going to go.”