Final thoughts on the 2022 Detroit Lions draft class

Six defensive players drafted, while only two offensive players were selected. With that the Detroit Lions and general manager Brad Holmes concluded the 2022 NFL Draft. So what gives? The rebuilding Lions have needs up and down the roster, which Holmes drafted some of those areas of need and rather masterfully. The Lions defense definitely got a boost. The offense while needing some upgrades was and is in better shape.

Ranking 31st in scoring defense and 29th in total defense in 2021-22 made upgrading the unit paramount. I do not believe for one moment Brad Holmes and the rest of the Detroit Lions front office walked into team headquarters in Allen Park with the mindset of drafting six players on the defensive side of the ball. I do believe as the draft was taking shape and players fell to them they made the call.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE SEPTEMBER 11: Jackson State DE James Houston was selected in the 6th round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Houston had a prolific year during his final season of play at Jackson State University after transferring from the Florida Gators. He finished the season with 16.5 sacks, named SWAC Newcomer of the Year and also named to the SWAC First Team Defense. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU University Communications/Jackson State University via Getty Images)

Needing a lot of help at edge rusher the Lions selected three (Aiden Hutchinson, Josh Paschal and James Houston.) Needing both help and depth in the secondary Holmes found two to his liking (Kerby Joseph, safety and Chase Lucas cornerback.) for good measure Holmes drafted linebacker Malcolm   Rodriguez to round out the defensive draft picks.

Only wide receiver Jameson Williams and tight end James Mitchell were selected for the offensive which may be telling of how the Lions brass feel about the offensive side of the ball. In a lackluster quarterback draft, the Lions will ride Jared Goff once again, which is not a bad thing.

Brad Holmes once again did a masterful job at addressing needs. As the dust settles on the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions are a better football team. The team now has edge rushers who can get to the quarterback. The secondary looks more solid while the linebackers are still a bit weak. You simply can not fix every area in one draft.

The Lions offense looks to be able to make things uncomfortable on opponents. Jameson Williams once he returns (rehabbing from a torn ACL) gives the Lions the deep threat they have been missing, which should help the running backs and with play action.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 01: Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

All and all, this was a very good draft for Brad Holmes and the rest of the Detroit Lions front office. I don’t like to give out grades as the proof is on the field. But a knee- jerk  grade would be a solid A.

Drop a comment and let me know what you think of the Detroit Lions draft class.

The Detroit Lions should not add Baker Mayfield and or Deebo Samuel

Detroit Lions general manager, Brad Holmes told the media and the Lions fan base at his introductory press conference that he intended to build the core of his roster through the NFL Draft. Holmes cautioned this would take some time without putting a timeline on the roster restructure. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has asked for a trade as the Browns have brought in  Deshaun Watson to call plays. In San Francisco wide receiver/ running back, Deebo Samuel has asked for a trade due to being over used and wanting to lineup just at receiver. The Detroit Lions should stay away from both players, here is why.

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 26: Detroit Lions helmets in the bench area prior to the week 16 NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons on December 26, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If the Detroit Lions were closer to the end of a rebuild and ready to compete for division titles and playoff spots, then trading for either Samuel and or Mayfield could make some sense. After all both players are young and talented.

Jared Goff the current Detroit Lions quarterback is and should be the stopgap quarterback until the team is ready to draft a QB (which could happen in this years draft.) Baker Mayfield who’s character has come into question is better suited to call plays elsewhere in my opinion as Lions head coach Dan Campbell is still building the culture he wants.

Deebo Samuel is talented. There is not question, and no debate about it. While the Detroit Lions do have a need at the wide receiver position, does it make sense to either give up draft picks as well as then sign Samuel to a $20-$30 million per-year contact for a team that is not close (at this time) to winning?

Back to the comments Brad Holmes not only made but continues to bring up, building through the draft. Everyone likes quick fixes, I know I do. But in sports quick fixes are the equivalent of a band-aid. Meaning there is still much work to do to stop the bleeding of losing.

Holmes also said that the organization needs as much draft capital as they can get. Trading Matthew Stafford to the Ram last offseason helped the Lions acquire precious first round draft picks in 2022 and 2023. Judging by his comments made a few days ago, Holmes does not sound thrilled with the rising costs at the receiver position.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 02: A detail view of a NFL Crest logo is seen during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 2, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That cost would not only be in money form, but if they traded for a player like Deebo Samuel it would surely cost at least one if not two first round draft picks. This is a retooling of a roster that has needed one in the worst way. I echo what Brad Holmes said the proper way is to build is through the draft and not rush by costing the team draft capital and salary cap space.

Drop a comment and let me know what you think of the Lions plan to build through the draft.

By standing pat in free agency the Detroit Lions must nail the draft

The 2022 NFL Draft is next week. For the rebuilding Detroit Lions who did not make much noise in free agency the draft became that much more important. Detroit re-signed many of their own free agents to short deals in hopes that will be enough to win a few more games while building a core group of players through the draft. Theoretically that is the right path to take although it does put a lot of pressure on the front office to get the draft right.

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)

The Detroit Lions have two first round draft picks which is certainly a nice luxury to have. Picking #2 overall and dead last in the first round, Lions general manager Brad Holmes must maximize this opportunity for the sake of the rebuild.

It should bother no one the Lions were pretty silent during the free agent period. This is not a great year for quarterbacks in the draft although there are a couple who are interesting prospects. Wide receiver, edge rusher and defensive backs are the flavor of this years draft.

It is widely being speculated the Detroit Lions may snatch one of the elite edge rushers at #2 then what? That seems to be anyone’s guess. Logically it seems that if the team drafts defense then they should go offense with the second first round pick.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JANUARY 02: A general view of a Detroit Lions helmet before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on January 02, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Logic is out the window. Sort of. You hear the phrase “best player available” a lot leading up to and during the draft. That needs to be tossed for the Lions. They need a game plan for the draft. With the current roster any player the team drafts is the best available in other words no player on the roster is better than the newest draft pick.

If Brad Holmes can add a blend of offense and defense the way he did last year the Lions will be a better team. Not adding impactful free agents puts the spotlight on the general manager and scouting department who must produce a solid draft class.

 

With the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, Detroit Lions fans should be excited about the future

The 3-13-1 regular season record does not sound like a bright future is ahead for the Detroit Lions. What if I told you that given the state of the L.A. Rams, the Lions future has very good potential? This is not a “homer” or “drink the kool-aid” write up, so ditch that thought right now. This is what I see looking at both teams. One playing in the NFC Championship Game (Rams) and one trying to reverse it’s fortunes (Lions.)

General view of the Kool-Aid man in the Kool-Aid lounge during the after party for “Spy Kids: All The Time In The World 4D” Los Angeles premiere co-sponsored by Osh Kosh B-Gosh & Kool-Aid at the EPSN Zone at L.A. Live on July 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. *** Local Caption ***

The Los Angeles Rams are a very good football team and on on the cusp of grabbing a spot in Super Bowl LVI (56.) The Detroit Lions are rebuilding….. again. However this is where hope comes in, hope in the form of Lions general manager Brad Holmes.

Holmes you may recall spent 18 years working in the Rams organization.  You see Brad Holmes played a large role in the Rams roster building. Holmes is known for getting tremendous talent in the mid to late rounds of NFL Draft’s. Something he demonstrated with his first Detroit Lions draft class.

With seven draft picks in last years NFL Draft, six of Brad Holmes seven picks became starters during the 2021 Detroit Lions season. The seventh draft pick gained more playing time as the season moved along.

The Lions traded longtime starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams and cashed in. Holmes has two- first round draft picks, a second round draft pick and three third round draft picks as well as one each in rounds 4-7. One more draft tidbit of note the Lions have been awarded an NFL record three compensatory draft picks due to free agents who signed with other teams.

As if the plethora of draft picks was not enough the Lions will have $35 million in available salary cap space and will be able to bring in a few big name players to push the rebuild along. That is something Brad Holmes spoke about after the season.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: General Manager Brad Holmes of the Detroit Lions looks on during the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Holmes told reporters that he now intends to add players, signaling that 2021 was a bottoming out season for the Lions. NFL rebuild are faster that other sports.

For Detroit Lions fans take a look at the L.A. Rams. If you like what you see and it is hard not to, imagine that coming to Motown.

With the 2021 NFL trade deadline coming, will the Detroit Lions make a move

Detroit Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp, recently said about her franchise’s current rebuild, “Everyone knew this was going to be a hard year. A rebuild, no one wanted to say that exactly, but we all kind of knew it was going to be and I think, as I say, the good news is that our young guys are getting a lot of experience, probably a lot more than they would have normally, So, I think at the end of this year, we’ll really know what we have. I think we’re building our foundation, and as you know, we have a slew of draft picks coming up the next few years. So, I see nothing but positive going forward. I think we’ll have a chance to really, really improve ourselves, and I feel like we’ve got the right leaders to get us there.”

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 24: D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions rushes for a touchdown during the first half in the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For the 0-7 Detroit Lions who’s record hides the fact that rookies have played very well and improved week to week, the trade deadline can speed up the painstaking rebuild.

Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes who knows the Los Angeles Rams very well, could swing a massive trade is he chooses to do so. The Rams are in the market for a running back. Not that the Lions want to deal one, but one player could net a huge return.

D’Andre Swift, who is one of the NFL’s versatile running backs could net the Detroit Lions a return they simply could not turn down. Rams general manager Les Snead, has never shied away from dealing draft picks to gain talent.

The Lions who currently holds two first round draft picks in next springs draft could add more. Dealing a player like Swift, the Rams could cough up draft picks that include:

2022 second round draft pick

2023 second round draft pick

2023 third round draft pick

GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 09: A Detroit Lions Helmet sits on the field before the NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals on December 9, 2018 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That is not an overvalue of D’Andre Swift. As I stated he is very talented and would fit seamlessly into the Rams offense. I am not saying this will happen. But in a rebuild nothing is or should be off the table. Including one of the better young players in the league.

Will Brad Holmes swing a massive deal like this? We will find out next week.

 

Detroit Lions: Jared Goff and General Manager, Brad Holmes are not tied together

As far as the NFL goes there is a rule of thumb. That rule of thumb is that quarterbacks are tied to general managers. Meaning, when drafted or signed as a free agent or even traded for, the general manger (GM) and his job security is directly tied to the quarterback that is brought in. When Detroit Lions general manger Brad Holmes traded longtime starting quarterback (QB) Matthew Stafford and received draft picks and Los Angeles Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff many believed Holmes and Goff were tied together. I do not view that as the case here is why.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: General Manager Brad Holmes of the Detroit Lions looks on during the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

No matter if Brad Holmes is true to his word (no reason to think otherwise) and he and the Detroit Lions were happy to get Jared Goff in the blockbuster trade or if Goff was a salary dump by the Rams, it does not change the fact Goff is now the starting QB in Detroit.

Due to his contract Goff will need to be on the Lions roster at least two years before the team can move on if that is what they choose. That said, I do not believe Brad Holmes job is in any trouble as long as Goff is the Lions quarterback win or loss.

The Lions are in a rebuild. A rebuild that in the early stages is off to a solid start. Holmes has focused, both his first draft as Lions GM and free agency on building the offensive and defensive lines. Which in my opinion is the right way to build a team.

It is also my opinion that Jared Goff will at the very least serve as the rebuild QB. This can work in the Lions favor. If Jared Goff can recapture his Pro Bowl form he could be a longer-term solution for the Lions who then would not need to use a high draft pick for a quarterback. If Goff’s play continues to decline, the Lions are only on the hook for two years before they can move him.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – MAY 27: Principal Owner and Chairman Sheila Ford Hamp and General Manager Brad Holmes watch the afternoon practice session on May 27, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

This is one case I feel where GM and quarterback are not tied at the hip. It is a rare exception dues to the rebuild that is taking place.

Day two of the 2021 NFL Draft showed the Detroit Lions new front office gets it

The Detroit Lions media and fan base are getting an up close look at just what made Lions General Manager Brad Holmes so valuable to the Los Angeles Rams. Holmes helped build the Rams into an NFC contender through a very good eye for talent and understanding how he wanted the Rams to look. The Detroit Lions are in a full rebuild and Holmes and the rest of the Lions front office have wasted no time in adding some key pieces for the teams future.

As of right now the Detroit Lions have a top five draft, this only after day 2 of the NFL Draft. When was the last time that happened you asked? 1988. Unless you live under a shoe you already know the Detroit Lions drafted offensive tackle Penei Sewell in the first round. A generational talent.

SEATTLE, WA – NOVEMBER 29: Washington Huskies defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike (95) walks up to the line of scrimmage before a play in the 112th Apple Cup between the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars on Friday, November 29, 2019 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Day two saw Brad Holmes and the rest of the Lions front office adding even more teeth (pun and no pun intended) to the rebuilding Lions roster. With the second round draft pick Brad Holmes and the Lions selected defensive linemen  Levi Onwuzurike from the Washington Huskies. In the third round another defensive lineman from N. C. State Alim McNeill also in the third round cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu out of the University of Syracuse.

No skilled players draft in the first 3 rounds by the Lions. I am speechless. In a good way. Meaning that Brad Holmes and Co. are building the Detroit roster the proper way. Lions fans on social media for the most part are happy with the draft thus far. Some are not.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – OCTOBER 26: Safety Ifeatu Melifonwu #23 of the Syracuse Orange during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on October 26, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the Orange 35 to 17. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

To the fans that are not happy with the Lions draft through round 3, I say this. In a rebuild it is far more important to build the nucleus of the roster than it is to add skill players. Games are one and lost in the trenches. If the offensive line is doing their job then it will generate success. If the defensive line is doing their job it will give the linebackers and secondary a chance to shine thus generating more success.

The Detroit Lions will not win many games in 2021. That is alright. Brad Homes is setting the organization to win in a year or two from now. With a draft like this fans should be excited for the future.

Why Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith makes sense for the Detroit Lions

Gone from the Detroit Lions roster is pretty much all the wide receivers from the past few seasons. In with the new. Some players signed during free agency will add much needed speed, but by and large the Detroit Lions need to remake the receiver group from the draft. The Lions currently hold the #7 overall draft pick. A player who in my opinion would go a long way in retooling the downfield attack is former Alabama Crimson Tide receiver DeVonta Smith.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 05: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY through Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Approval by the Heisman Trust will be needed for any usage thereafter or any Commercial usage requests at any point.) Wide receiver DeVonta Smith of the Alabama Crimson Tide poses with the Heisman Memorial Trophy on January 05, 2021 in New York, New York. (Photo by Kent Gidley/Heisman Trophy Trust via Getty Images)

Heisman Trophy Winner DeVonta Smith is not the biggest wide receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft. But that is just fine. He may be among the fastest and also Smith contains some intangibles that may prove to be too much for the Detroit Lions to pass up.

During the COVID shortened college football season, Smith put up some eye popping numbers. Smith’s numbers and talent has made him a top 10 prospect, with 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and a total of 24 touchdowns in 13 games  and lead the country in 20+ yard targets in becoming the first wide receiver since Michigan Wolverines, Desmond Howard (1991) in winning the Heisman Trophy.

Standing 6 foot 1 inch, DeVonta Smith is not over imposing. Once the ball is snapped however Smith shows elite skill. Not only did Smith win the Heisman but he was also named the MVP of the Alabama offense.

For a team looking to build a roster and team into a playoff contending franchise, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes should give drafting DeVonta Smith serious consideration.

Smith can be a game breaking player and give real life to the Detroit Lions passing attack. Sure the Lions have holes aplenty all over the current roster. One draft will not and can not fix that. But for a franchise looking to build a team with speed. DeVonta Smith would be a next to perfect fit.

By restructuring quarterback Jared Goff’s contract the Detroit Lions free up $15 million

The Detroit Lions were (and still are for the most part) tight against the salary cap. On Wednesday morning it was announced the team has restructured the contract of presumed starting quarterback Jared Goff. There was some cap relief to the tune of $15. It does however also mean the Lions are tied to Goff longer.

Detroit Lions General Manager, Brad Homes, has stated many times that Jared Goff was THE reason the Lions traded former quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 16: Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions on October 16, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Rams 31-28. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Holmes has had a solid relationship with Goff ever since he spearheaded the Rams drafting him. While it is true the Lions received two-first round draft picks as well as a third round pick, Holmes says Goff was the reason for the trade.

With a base salary of $25.65 million, the Lions converted $20 million of the contract into a signing bonus. So Goff gets all that money up front. While he was going to be the presumed Lions starter this season Jared Goff is now likely to be the Lions starting quarterback for at minimum two seasons and possibly more.

NEW YORK – APRIL 26: A general view shows the stage during the during the 2008 NFL Draft on April 26, 2008 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Sure Brad Holmes has said that all draft options were on the table at #7 including a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. Now the Lions have even more options. If a quarterback they like is not there they can either draft another position of need or move back and acquire more picks.

The restructured contract allows the Lions to sign their draft class as well as sign any free agent during the season in case of injury. It could be just as Holmes has said, he views Goff as the starting quarterback moving forward.

The real proof will come during the draft. When the Lions draft their first round draft pick all will be revealed.

 

By re-signing Romeo Okwara it is the start of a long overdue rebuild for the Detroit Lions

Some teams tweak their rosters to stave off rebuilding while trying most times in vain for one more trip to the playoffs. Some teams rip the band aid off and get right down to rebuilding. That is where the Detroit Lions are. A down to the studs rebuild. When Lions general manager Brad Holmes re-signed defensive end Romeo Okwara and not wide receiver Kenny Golladay, Holmes effectively moved the Lions into rebuild mode.

Here in my opinion is what Brad Holmes may have been thinking. While it would have been nice to have both Okwara and Golladay back due to salary cap issues that was not in the cards for the Lions.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs the ball under the pressure of Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara (95) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, October 28, 2018. (Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Lions defense has needed edge rushers for a while. Romeo Okwara and his 10 quarterback sacks last season fits that bill. Again in my opinion because he can get to the quarterback Holmes put a premium on bringing Okwara back.

NFL pass rushers who are able to sack quarterbacks are not cheap. As Okwara’s 3 year $13 per year contract extension shows. One other factor I believe was critical in Holmes decision is that the Detroit Lions defense was so bad last few seasons that he simply could not afford to let the best player on the defense walk as a free agent and get nothing in return for him.

Make no mistake about it, by re-signing Okwara the Lions defense is not going to suddenly spring to life. It does mean that when his rotation comes up and he is on the field, he gives the Lions a proven weapon. This team is rebuilding and needs any edge it can get.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 15: Romeo Okwara #95 of the Detroit Lions plays against the Washington Football Team at Ford Field on November 15, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The easy step to take was re-signing Romeo Okwara. The more difficult part comes by Brad Holmes and the Detroit Lions scouting department putting the right talent around him.

This was the right call for Brad Holmes to make. Kenny Golladay is a very good player and can help any offense in the NFL. But a good, talented young edge rusher does not come along everyday.