Brad Holmes masterfully pulled off the draft


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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAR 01: Brad Holmes, general manager of the Detroit Lions speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Caleb Weiss, Staff

Many people were pretty unsure about what the Detroit Lions organization would do in the 2023 NFL Draft. Brad Holmes, the general manager for the team, made some pretty bold moves that could greatly improve the team. I will be honest when saying when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Lions drafted Jahmyr Gibbs, I was puzzled; we already had D’Andre Swift and Devin Montgomery, the later of which the Lions signed in free agency. But, I eventually realized that the “Brad Plan” was to draft Gibbs, and then trade Swift, which the team dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles. The rest of the picks I thought were pretty straight forward, but I will make a rundown of the team’s draft picks and make the decision as to whether or not each was a good pick.

Jack Campbell – ILB – Iowa

One of the biggest needs for the Detroit Lions last year was the linebacker position. Despite one of the best defensive lines in the league, there were times where it did struggle. Many believed that Jack Campbell was the greatest prospect for the linebacker position, and Brad knew exactly what to do when the eighteenth overall pick came up. Campbell won quite a few awards when he was college, including the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Campbell ensures that teams will struggle when attempting short passes, as he is quite the beast when he played with Iowa.

Samuel LaPorta – TE – Iowa

Trading T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings was a very bold move that Brad made the previous season. Naturally, going into the draft, he looked for someone to replace him. Coincidentally, LaPorta went to the same college as Hockenson did: Iowa. LaPorta, like Campbell, also won an award that is given to the best tight end in the Big Ten, also known as the Kwalick-Clark Award.

Brian Branch – S – Alabama

Brad also wanted to bolster the backfield, especially one that struggled very much the previous season. Branch, unsurprisingly, was also considered to be the best safety in this year’s draft. He greatly improved Alabama’s defense, a school that is more known for its high scoring offense. Detroit is very similar to Alabama in that aspect, and I believe that drafting Branch, as well as signing C.J. Gardner-Johnson, will yield the same results.

Hendon Hooker – QB – Tennessee

This was an absolute bombshell pick. Many people knew that Goff is not going to be the long-term option at quarterback, especially with him facing his final year of his contract, which he can opt out of. Hooker had a rollercoaster of a season with Tennessee, leading the team to a victory against Alabama, which they had not done since 2006. He also was a contender for the Heisman Trophy until he got injured towards the end of the season. Clearly, Brad sees Hooker as the future Lions quarterback as Goff’s contract is expiring. However, there is still a question mark regarding his health, but this is typical of a college player going into the NFL.

The rest of the picks are too low to really break down, but the team addressed needs at defensive tackle, offensive tackle, and finally, a wide receiver. Overall, Brad filled many holes that the team had and even prepared for the future with picks such as Gibbs and Hooker. These players will hopefully show the league that Brad Holmes is a football genius and will show great results to our beloved football team.