ESPN’s Mel Kiper puts big praise on Lions GM Brad Holmes’ draft work

SideLion Report

It’s hard to find much flaw with what Lions general manager Brad Holmes has done in two drafts thus far, and ESPN’s Mel Kiper has heaped praise on that work.

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes stuck firmly to a commitment to build through the draft in 2021 and 2022, as the team was in rebuild phase. There’s a lot to like about the results, with blue-chip building blocks (Penei Sewell, Aidan Hutchinson), draft steals found (Amon-Ra St. Brown, Malcolm Rodriguez, Kerby Joseph, James Houston) and contributors (Alim McNeill, Derrick Barnes) brought in.

Not to say there haven’t been misses, like any general manager has, with Levi Onwuzurike and Ifeatu Melifonwu (second and third round in 2021, respectively) failing to get on track in their careers thus far primarily due to injuries.

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. did a conference call with Detroit reporters on Wednesday.

Mel Kiper heaps praise on the work Brad Holmes had done in drafts thus far

Via Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ website, here’s what Kiper had to say about Holmes’ work in his first two drafts.

I’d give him an A,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said in a conference call Wednesday when asked about the job Holmes and the Lions have done in the draft the last two years. “A solid A. You could go A-plus.

Shifting to talk about this April’s draft, with a nod to giving him to the Lions at No. 6 in his new mock draft, Kiper talked about rolling the dice on Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

Via Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press.

Jalen Carter, do they take him at six to put him inside and have Aidan outside?” Kiper said. “What a combination that would be. This defense as you know has got to be better. It’s got to be. And these defensive backs that they added certainly will help dramatically and if they can get a defensive tackle like Jalen Carter at six than that would, obviously with Aidan’s development and Houston and Paschal and all the young guys they had, if they develop and they will continue to develop, that bodes well for this defense being vastly improved this next year.”

Carter is arguably the most-talented player in this year’s draft. But reckless driving charges related to an accident that killed a teammate and a Georgia football staffer hang over him. He also had a dismal  Pro Day performance, showing up heavier than he was at the NFL Combine as he was unable to finish drills.

Holmes has pretty much nailed his first two drafts, and for whatever it’s truly worth Kiper has noticed. Making it a proverbial hat trick will start with a big decision at No. 6 overall.

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