Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes caught Spring Training fever during his press conference with the media in Indianapolis for this year’s Scouting Combine, borrowing a baseball metaphor in an effort to explain his feelings about the backup quarterback position in Detroit.
“I feel like last year we kind of left training camp sliding into home plate, trying to fill that backup quarterback role,” admitted Holmes. “And that’s on me. I gotta do a better job of making sure that we’re not in that position again.”
As documented by HBO during last year’s coverage on Hard Knocks, the Lions backup quarterback competition pit the incumbent Tim Boyle against David Blough, and while Blough lasted in town longer than Boyle, neither were in Detroit for the Lions season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Holmes mentioned that the backup quarterback position has already been the subject of a lot of conversations, even though they have much more pressing needs than the second signal-caller on their depth chart.
When asked if the Lions were in the position to pass on a major need and make a luxury pick considering Detroit has two first-round selections in this year’s draft, Holmes made sure to acknowledge the blind spots when drafting.
“I think when you’re in those spots, you’re just drafting for need, you can make some mistakes,” answered Holmes. “I’m not gonna say we don’t look at that [drafting for need] at all, but when you’re passing up really good football players that can help you and impact your football team, it might not be lined up with the exact anchored ‘hole’ you might have on a depth chart.”
Holmes capped off his response by saying the team was going to look for two “really good football players” who fit what the team is about and “impact the team early.”
Many have wondered how Holmes’ approach to the draft might change now the team is looking to compete in 2023, and by mentioning the team is looking to add players who can make an impact early, that certainly seems to be the case. Detroit’s aggressive move in last year’s draft to move up 20 slots and select Jameson Williams certainly wasn’t a pick made with 2022 in mind, so Holmes just put the word out that Detroit’s back up, looking for players who can help in the here and now.
So would picking a quarterback fall under that luxury pick umbrella?
Holmes echoed his comments from earlier in the morning with Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager, reiterating that Jared Goff is the team’s starter, and the team loves him, but also revisiting his earlier comments about how the team doesn’t have anyone behind Goff at the moment considering Nate Sudfeld, last year’s backup quarterback, is an unrestricted free agent.
“It [finding a quarterback] could very well be through the draft,” suggested Holmes, also commenting unique timeline of the NFL’s offseason for quarterbacks with free agency happening before the draft—some free agent quarterbacks might not be ready to make a decision about which team to sign with until they see how the draft plays itself out and they can suss out with team presents the right opportunity for them.
Holmes was pressed about how strongly he would consider taking a quarterback at pick six or 18 if that opportunity presented itself, but Brad chose to play the villain.
“We’re going to get the best football players that fit us,” Holmes said with a shrug and a smile. “I don’t know exactly what you want me to say.”