Detroit Lions’ Brad Holmes may have driven up the asking price for No. 7 pick in NFL draft

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez
 
| Detroit Free Press

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Free Press sports writer Carlos Monarrez answers three questions from Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes’ and coach Dan Campbell’s news conferences Tuesday heading into free agency and the NFL draft.

What do you think about Brad Holmes praising the quarterback draft class?

The Lions general manager knows what he’s doing, I’ll give him that. Holmes tried to drive up interest and the potential asking price for his No. 7 overall pick by praising quarterbacks who will be available in the NFL draft.

“I think the quarterback class is good this year,” he said. “I like the crop of quarterbacks that are coming out in this year’s draft.” Holmes didn’t mention any player by name, but he described quarterbacks “in all different flavors” with various attributes that could describe any of this year’s elite arm talent like Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.

It’s important to note that Holmes’ answer was in response to a question about ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. saying the Lions shouldn’t draft a QB seventh overall. Holmes must keep his options open, and creating the impression that he might be happy keeping the No. 7 pick and taking a QB with it can only serve to drive up interest among other teams starved for a quarterback.

What kind of player will the Lions draft?

Here’s my favorite part of every NFL draft cycle, which is like “Groundhog Day.” Draft gurus say a team has a need at a certain position, so it should draft for that position. Teams say they don’t draft for need and just want “good football players” — and then they draft for need, at least in the first two days of the draft.

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Teams are essentially trying to stay away from reaching for a player by ignoring concerns because he fits a need. I get that, even though I still think the Lions should emphasize defense in this year’s draft. But it certainly sounds like Campbell wants to stay away from need after he said: “I sure don’t want Brad feeling like he’s got to chase positions in the draft. I want him to be able to say, ‘Man, this is the guy. These are our guys that we love.’ And let’s feel like this is an outstanding player that we all love and let’s not feel like we have to, ‘Well, we don’t really love this guy, but man, we need a linebacker. We don’t really love this guy, but we sure do need an inside defensive lineman.’”

We’ll see how much the Lions hold true to that ideal because the art of compromise is at the core of any team’s draft plans. And as we all know, the NFL draft itself is much more of an art than it is a science.

Can the Lions afford to pass on a quarterback?

This was the first time Holmes spoke about quarterback Jared Goff, whom the Lions acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Rams that won’t be official until the new league year starts March 17. Holmes was asked how having a veteran QB affects roster-building and his answer indicated he’s very comfortable with Goff being the Lions’ quarterback.

“But having a veteran quarterback, obviously, it can shape some decisions in terms of my familiarity with him,” he said, “knowing kind of what works best for him, what he kind of likes, what he kind of strives for. It does help shape things from a team-building standpoint in terms of adding tools, adding pieces that will fit his skill set.”

My takeaway from this is that the Lions will, and must, plan the offense around Goff this year. That doesn’t mean they won’t draft a QB with their top pick. But Goff is a certainty while taking a passer with the No. 7 pick, even for the Lions, is not a certainty.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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