Brad Holmes’ Bold Words May Indicate Lions’ Surprise Plan Early in Draft

Brad Holmes

Getty Brad Holmes speaks during the 2022 NFL combine.

The Detroit Lions are pushing toward the 2023 NFL draft, and with a week to go before the selection meeting plays out, Brad Holmes met with the media to give a last-minute window into his preparation.

Holmes has been open and honest this offseason about his plan for the team, and once again, he fit that description as he met with the media on the morning of Thursday, April 20. When speaking to the media, Holmes touched on plenty of topics, and offered plenty of interesting answers to questions about what could play out.

As it relates to quarterbacks, defense, running back and some of the other decisions that have been made and will be made, what did Holmes have to say? Here’s a look at his answers, a few of which could tell the tale of the direction Detroit may want to go.

Don’t Scratch Jalen Carter off Detroit’s List

Jalen Carter is a talented defensive tackle prospect, but he has off-the-field baggage, and there have been questions about whether he might slip from the top 10 as a result of this.

Don’t expect it to happen if the Lions have anything to say about it. Holmes and Detroit got a face-to-face meeting with Carter last week, and it seems as if they came away pleased by the top SEC prospect up front. As he explained as tweeted by Tim Twentyman of, Carter answered some questions the Lions had on the visit.

“Lions GM Brad Holmes said Georgia DT Jalen Carter did a nice job in his visit with Lions this week and said he “felt better about him” after the visit,” Twentyman tweeted.

Of course this kind of quote could represent a smokescreen, but having Carter in for the workout and getting to know him better seems to have benefitted the Lions in a big way ahead of the draft. If the team elects to take Carter, fans should have faith that Holmes and Dan Campbell have vetted him and feel comfortable with him as a player.

Carter, for his part, could help turn around Detroit’s defensive line from the middle, given the team could need more power on the interior. Only time will tell if it’s a good match.

Lions Could Grab Running Back Round 1

This day in age, with the plummeting value of running backs early, it could be hard to find a team that values the position in round one. The Lions under Holmes, however, could be poised to break that mold if the right prospect arrives.

As Holmes explained after being asked, he still sees value in drafting at running back in the first round. The reason? Talent is talent, and Holmes was part of a front office in Los Angeles that picked Todd Gurley and had little regret about doing so. As Ari Meirov showed in a tweet, Holmes had conviction in his answer.

“Lions GM Brad Holmes on taking a RB with a high pick: “I understand the narrative. … I don’t think anyone said in ‘16, ‘17 or ‘18, ‘Oh man the Rams took Todd Gurley at 10.’ He was just a really good RB and we didn’t bat an eye.” (Holmes was with the Rams when they took Gurley),” Meirov tweeted.

For Detroit, this is notable in 2023 because of Bijan Robinson. The talented Texas runner could be a first-round talent if a team wants to take the plunge. The Lions could end up being that team, because it doesn’t seem as if Holmes is scared to pick a running back early at all.

Lions Will Have Urgency During 2023 Draft

With four picks in the first two rounds of the 2023 draft and 10 picks overall, the Lions are in great shape to dramatically alter the future of their franchise.

Holmes knows this, and it’s something that he is embracing as the process winds to a close. As he explained as shown in a tweet by Tim Twentyman of, the general manager understands the unique opportunity the team has, and wants to take advantage of it.

“Holmes said he knows Lions have a “unique opportunity” with the draft capital they have and said it’s important they take advantage of the opportunity,” Twentyman tweeted.

This could mean the Lions are aggressive in terms of targeting players and moving up in the draft, to maximize the picks they do have. It would not be a shock to see the Lions moving around in the draft early and often for players they like, given it’s rare for a team to possess this kind of capital.

Jeff Okudah Trade Was Best for Everybody

Just over a week ago, the Lions made a surprising move in shipping cornerback Jeff Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round pick in 2023. While some may have been surprised by the move, the team had clearly built a consensus that a deal was needed.

Okudah, according to Holmes, shared that same sentiment when he was approached about the decision behind closed doors. Across the board, it was time for something to happen. But As Eric Woodyard of ESPN pointed out, the communication never ended between the sides.

“Lions GM Brad Holmes on trading Jeff Okudah: “I just think it was the right time and I think it was good for Jeff. I had a good talk with him after it was done and he told me he understood it as well.” Holmes said he respected how he battled and won the starting job last season,” Woodyard tweeted.

No matter what trade or release goes down, the key word with the front office seems to be respect. Right now, the Lions have become a team that has an open line of communication with their players, and that is to the betterment of the roster and everybody on it. Okudah seemed happy with the trade.

Okudah gets his fresh start, and the Lions get another draft pick with which to work this season, as well as some new players that have come into the mix for a new role from free agency. It seems like a win-win trade.

The Lions Will Add a Quarterback

Perhaps the biggest will they or won’t they decision that still plagues the Lions could be at quarterback. But there could be some clarity that has emerged late in the process.

After speaking earlier this offseason and vowing to approach the quarterback room differently, Holmes once again discussed the fact that the team has done their diligence at the position. With his words, Holmes seemed to indicate that another move could be in the hopper.

“We’re doing the best we can. You don’t have the absolute crystal ball. You just have to do all the research. We brought some quarterbacks in and did our just due on them. Like I’ve been saying, when you’re picking in the top 10, you want to make sure you’re thorough on the quarterback market. I believe we have done that. We have good idea. There’s always going to be a surprise on draft night, that’s what makes it fun. But we’ll definitely be prepared. Got an idea, but never know if a curveball might be thrown,” Holmes told the media.

That sure sounds like a guy who would be interested in adding a quarterback if the opportunity presented itself with the right player. The Lions may already have a “strong offer” out to Teddy Bridgewater. They could draft a player as well fairly early, or even come day three. Either way, it feels like there will be more resolution as it relates to quarterback next week.

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