clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lions mailbag: Is Brad Holmes strictly a ‘best player available’ drafter?

The Lions general manager Brad Holmes recently said he doesn’t like bringing a depth chart into the draft war room. Does that mean he will strictly draft best player available?

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most interesting moments from Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes’ media session at the owners meetings earlier this offseason was when he was talking about depth charts in relationship to his draft strategy. In short, Holmes said that the team’s current depth chart matters so little that he doesn’t even have one in the team’s draft war room.

“I just think you can make a lot of mistakes with that,” Holmes said. “I’ve been in regimes in the past that have had a depth chart in the draft room, and I’ve just never been a fan of that.”

Later adding, “When you’re approaching the draft and you’re just looking to fill those question marks, fill those holes, I do think that that can equate to some mistakes.”

Holmes even blatantly said that this year—especially after what they accomplished in free agency—the Lions are in a position to strictly take the best player available.

But how strict to that rule is Holmes? Would he draft a position like offensive tackle early if the upgrade was big enough? Or is Holmes exaggerating a bit for dramatic effect?

That’s a big topic that kicks off the second segment in our call-in show podcast on Spotify Live. Here’s a taste of that conversation:

“Yeah, that seems like a little bit of theater, right?” Ryan Mathews said. “This is what this guy eats, sleeps, and breathes, is turning this team into the vision that he has for success. So I think when it comes to the whole, ‘Yeah, I don’t have the Lions depth chart in there,’ he knows everything, right? But I do think this approach has been in place since his very first draft.”

Erik Schlitt isn’t buying it completely, either, pointing to the moment during Holmes’ first draft when he told owner Sheila Hamp that they still had plans to draft a receiver on Day 3, specifically with Amon-Ra St. Brown in mind.

“He’s still thinking of positional value, and he’s still thinking, ‘Okay, these are positions that we still need to address,’” Schlitt said. “That was a very obvious need at the time, but at the same time, he’s not going to reach for these guys. He’s going to address needs, but the best player available strategy is interwoven in that.”

I’m a little more apt to take Holmes at his word. In fact, I’m not taking a single position off the board early in this draft, as long as the positional value and player talent match.

“Both Dan (Campbell) and Brad have said also said, ‘We are always looking—if there is an upgrade at any position, we’re going to look into that,’” I said. “And that makes me think—I wouldn’t be completely shocked if they drafted an offensive tackle to play offensive tackle.”

That discussion starts around the 36-minute mark.

Here are other topics we discuss on this week’s show:

  • What happened to the draft stock of Kelee Ringo, Noah Sewell, and Cam Smith? Why did they drop so much and was it an overreaction? (3:30)
  • Pick one at 18: DB Brian Branch, CB Deonte Banks, DT Bryan Bresee? (12:00)
  • Is Calijah Kancey worth the 18th pick? (15:00)
  • Biggest takeaways from the Lions pre-draft visits so far (24:30)
  • What do we make of the C.J. Stroud top-30 visit? Lions considering a move up to three? (28:00)
  • Favorite Pride of Detroit moment with the staff? (44:00)
  • Any positions the Lions may surprisingly leave the draft without an addition? (51:00)
  • What positions could the Lions find depth at on Day 2 or 3 in the NFL Draft? (1:03:00)
  • Discussing Bill Barnwell’s article on the value of a running back in the first round (1:16:45)

Thanksgiving deal: Save 20% on PODD

What's more Lions than football on Thanksgiving!? To celebrate the holiday, use promo code GOLIONS20 to save 20% on your first year of Pride of Detroit Direct. Sign up today for exclusive game analysis, subscriber-only videos, and much more!