Detroit Lions finally have effective general manager


Photo courtesy of Forbes

The 2022 NFL draft has come and gone. The new NFL season is just around the corner, and the Lions got a haul in this draft. 

The picks include defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan), wide receiver Jameson Williams (Alabama), defensive end Joshua Paschal (Kentucky), safety Kerby Joseph (Illinois), tight end James Mitchell (Virginia Tech), linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (Oklahoma State), defensive end James Houston (Jackson State) and cornerback Chase Lucas (Arizona State). 

It is new for Lions fans to have a general manager in Brad Holmes who actually knows what he is doing. The past regime consisting of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia set the franchise back years and ultimately wasted the final years of Matthew Stafford’s time in Detroit. 

However, Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell have created a culture in Detroit that players want to be a part of. 

You may look at a 3-13-1 record last season and say the team stinks, which they did, but this group’s toughness and effort last year did not go unnoticed. The players played hard, and they cared. 

They wanted to win for the organization, the coach, the fan base and themselves. The players just needed more help. Finally, they received some of their needed support following this year’s draft.

I’m not confident this team will be good or even make the playoffs, but I think they will undoubtedly surpass their win total of the previous season. 

Grabbing Michigan star Aidan Hutchinson was a steal even though they got him with the second pick in the draft. I’m not sold on the first overall pick Trayvon Walker who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars the pick before. 

This decision led the Lions to snag probably the best player in the draft in Hutchinson, who totaled a whopping 14 sacks in his senior season at the University of Michigan. I did want the Lions to pick Oregon standout, Kayvon Thibodeaux, as I loved his output, swagger and personality. In the end, I cannot be mad at the pick of Hutchinson. 

The Lions’ next pick came from trading up with the Minnesota Vikings, where they took arguably the best wide receiver in the draft, Jameson Williams. Coming off an ACL injury, Williams has some question marks but was the fastest wide receiver in college football last season. 

He offers a game-changing speed that can wreak havoc on defenses. The big question is: can Lions quarterback Jared Goff get him the ball on those deep throws? 

The second-round pick was the most questionable selection to me as the Lions selected Joshua Paschal. I wanted linebacker Nakobe Dean out of Georgia as I felt he was a can’t-miss prospect. However, injury concerns made him fall in the draft, which led the Lions to pass on him and Holmes ultimately selected Paschal. With that being said, the Lions needed pass rushers. Teams that can get to their opponents’ quarterbacks have a massive advantage. 

One of the more underrated players the Lions picked was Malcolm Rodriguez. He is a robust, gritty linebacker who can clog up holes and make effective tackles. 

The linebacker room within the Lions organization was a glaring weakness last season. While I don’t expect a sixth-round pick to become the next Luke Kuechly, I expect efficient production. 

In the two drafts of Holmes’ tenure, he has added offensive tackle Penei Sewell, defensive tackle Alim McNeill, defensive end Levi Onwuzurike, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, wide receiver Jameson Williams and defensive end Joshua Paschal. 

He has built a young core for the Lions that will contribute significantly to this team for years to come. Don’t forget that they also have two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft and plenty of cap space next offseason. 

While a winning record and a playoff appearance are probably a season or two away, I am happy with the pieces Holmes has added. The players on last year’s roster bought into the organization, and I expect no different this year. 

The Lions have a solid offensive line and weapons in T.J. Hockenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, D’Andre Swift and D.J. Chark. The biggest question will be Jared Goff’s output. The defense I expect to be better, but probably needs another offseason and draft to be noteworthy. In the end, I’m excited for this season and the direction of this organization.