Two years ago this week the Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia eras ended in the motor city. Plagued by bad contracts, atrocious trades, horrible coaching, and most of all questionable drafting decisions, Quinn and Patricia turned a playoff caliber roster into bottom of the league material in just a few years. Some of the worst cases of these being the picks of Jahlani Tavai, Teez tabor, Jarrad Davis, DaShawn hand, and Kerryon Johnson. Enter Brad Holmes, coming over from the Rams organization scout team after a successful tenure that was highlighted by drafting the surefire hall of fame talent that is Aaron Donald. After seeing the first two years of his tenure in Detroit, it is clear that the Lions may very well have hired a generational coaching talent.
Looking back at Brad Holmes first draft with the Lions, they managed to get their guy with right tackle Penei Sewell in the first round. Midway through year 2 he’s been one of the best young tackles in the league, despite recent penalty issues. Round 2 brought the Lions defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike, who has been injured for most of his tenure, despite showing early promise. In the third round, Brad Holmes traded up to take Alim McNeil, the big defensive tackle out of NC state. He’s really molded into form as of late, and has been very impressive in his second year in the league. They also got Ifeatu Melifonwu who has been a solid rotational piece in the secondary when needed.
In round 4 the Lions got both wide receiver Amon Ra St. Brown and Linebacker Derrick Barnes. Not enough can be said about Amon Ra’s impact on this team, and Barnes has been growing into a starting role as well, being an athletic force in the middle. Jermar Jefferson got some reps in year one but that was the extent of his impact out of the 7th round. Bringing the draft to an end with 5 out of the 7 picks being hits and 4 being starting tier players.
Good first year of drafting for Holmes with the most impressive picks being the later round hits, but what about year 2? Well in the first round, after taking the homerun pick that has been DE Aidan Hutchinson, Brad conducted a great trade to trade up for Jameson Williams, the receiver with game breaking speed out of Alabama. He’s been out with an injury from his championship game in college, but he should be returning within the next two weeks. In round two, Josh Pascal became a Lion, and despite early injury problems, he has shown promise in the pass rush game by generating a good amount of pressure. In round 3 Brad Holmes worked magic again, picking up hall hawking safety Kerby Joseph out of Illinois. He’s been sensational thus far, forcing two fumbles and picking off 3 passes since coming in for the injured Tracy Walker. He’s been one of the higher graded safeties in the league and looks to be one of the gems of the draft. In round five James Mitchell was picked to back up Tj Hockenson. Well now that Hockenson is a Viking, he’s picked up some of the production and has been serviceable as a pass catching option. In round 6 however, the Lions brought in Linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez. Remember back when I said Kerby Joseph was one of the gems of the draft? Yeah, here’s the other. He’s been absolutely astonishing for this linebacking core, and was especially impressive on Thanksgiving, posting a 90.5 PFF grade. He’s been everything that embodies this Dan Campbell Lions team. Edge rusher James Houston also came in the 6th and posted 2 sacks on 5 snaps played in his first game on Thanksgiving, and has solidified his spot on the roster with his pure athleticism and high ceiling. And the 7th rounder Chase Lucas hasn’t seen the field much, and thus hasn’t had much impact. This brings the total Brad Holmes picks to 11 out of 14 so far making some amount of significant impact. That’s true drafting talent and with potentially another top 2 pick coming from the Rams this year, the process may just be beginning