While congratulatory comments and kind praise from former colleagues is typically part of the deal when someone earns a meaningful promotion in professional sports, Los Angles Rams coach Sean McVay was effusive when asked about the team’s college scouting director, Brad Holmes, landing the Detroit Lions general-manager job.
“Brad is a guy that does a great job,” McVay said on Thursday. “I think his ability to connect, the command he has over the draft and the ownership of the different players, and how hard he works to be able to study and do all his due diligence. One of the things I’ve always liked about Brad, that I think is a great skill set for any leader to possess, he’s got great emotional intelligence. What I mean by that is he’s got such a great way about, even if he might not agree with you, it never feels confrontational.
“I think that’s why he’ll do a great job in Detroit, building safety amongst the people he works with, where you’ve gotta be able to have the comfort to disagree but work toward solutions. I think his even-keeled demeanor, disposition, how steady he is, will be a real winning edge.
“He’s a great worker, I think he sees the game outstanding. Then he’s got the humility where he’s always trying to learn, learn more about the game.”
At 41 years old, Holmes is considered young for a general-manager position. McVay can relate. He was just 30 when the Rams made him their head coach in 2017. That bold decision has been rewarded with consistent success, including three playoff berths in four years and a Super Bowl appearance in 2019.
The Lions are hoping to be equally fortunate with Holmes.
“He and I developed a really good relationship since I first got here,” McVay said, “and I was always just impressed with he’s got such a great feel for the players and the work that he does specific to the college scouting. But then he was always asking so many good questions to just get better at his craft, specific to seeing it through a coach’s lens. He’ll do a great job.”
Ahead of the hire, McVay said he spoke to Chris Spielman last week. The former Lions linebacker and ESPN and Fox broadcaster was hired by the franchise last month to serve as an advisor to owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team president Rod Wood.
Interestingly, during McVay’s four-year tenure with the Rams, the team hasn’t drafted in the first round once. Still, Holmes has been able to help identify several key players that are contributing to a roster preparing to play in a divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers this weekend.