In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious from the reaction of the Detroit Lions war room that Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell was one of their primary targets with their first-round pick, Lions general manager Brad Holmes revealed that he seriously considered trading up for the franchise tackle... twice.
In a refreshingly tell-all with the Freep’s Dave Birkett, Holmes revealed that he got on the phone with both the Cincinnati Bengals with the fifth pick and the Miami Dolphins at six to see if they could work out a deal to grab Sewell.
“We actually talked to Miami,” he told Birkett. “We actually talked to them about possibly even going up and just to secure him to see if, just in case somebody else went up to them.”
Reports leaked prior to Thursday’s draft that the Lions had called the Falcons to move up and acquire LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Holmes denies that, saying the conversation was with the Bengals and for Sewell.
The Falcons took Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, while the Bengals (Chase) and Dolphins (Jaylen Waddle) went wide receiver. The Lions’ war room erupted in cheers.
You think the Lions got the guy they wanted? Look how pumped they are. pic.twitter.com/3lQacvCXoA— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) April 30, 2021
Holmes was so wrapped up in emotion from how the board fell, that he broke the NFL’s request to hold off on calling Sewell until the broadcast was ready to air it live. He called Sewell immediately, making the selection well before Detroit’s 10 minutes were up.
“I kind of saw the video and I didn’t even realize till I saw it on replay that I just kind of drug Rod Wood across the room,” Holmes said. “Like, I didn’t even know it was him. I didn’t know who I was hugging. I was hugging somebody and after I hugged them, I just was starting to just drag them across the room like just so happy.”
As for the quarterback crowd, Holmes provided some insight as to why the Lions passed on a guy like Ohio State’s Justin Fields or Alabama’s Mac Jones.
After the draft, he told the Free Press that once North Dakota State’s Trey Lance rounded out the top, he knew the Lions would be taking a different position at No. 7.
Holmes told the Free Press that on Friday he received extremely positive feedback from other executives around the NFL, with one even telling him they had Sewell as a top-three player in this year’s class, and other feedback suggesting there were other teams jousting to get Sewell.
“And so that actually made it even cooler, to kind of hear that,” Holmes said.
In the end, everything points to the Lions getting one of their top targets in the draft and a top-tier talent in this class.