Daniel Jeremiah explains why other teams won’t copy the Lions 2023 draft model

USA Today

The Detroit Lions bucked all kinds of conventional wisdom with their draft in 2023. GM Brad Holmes selected a running back, off-ball linebacker, tight end and safety with his first four picks, all in the top 45 picks of the draft.

All four of them were big hits right away, position value be darned. The impressive yet unconventional draft haul helped propel the Lions to their first-ever NFC North title and a trip to the NFC Championship game.

Jeremiah doesn’t see other teams trying to eschew positional value to simply draft really good players anytime soon. His explanation was more about the Lions and their unusual situation created by Holmes & Co. in building to that point.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any copycat here because I think we’ve focused so much on them taking those, quote, unquote, non-value positions, but we’ve ignored the fact that when you have already built the foundation, then you can go do that,” Jeremiah said of Detroit’s strategy and foundation.

“That draft was successful because of what they did, what Brad and those
guys did previously to build up the line of scrimmage on both sides. They had the quarterback (Jared Goff) in place. They hit a home run on the wide receiver (Amon-Ra St. Brown). The expensive premium positions, they had already built the foundations. That freed them up.

It’s a huge advantage over the rest of the league where you can take the running back. Obviously a tight end hits a home run. You can take off the linebacker. You can do those things once the foundation is built. I still think personally the right thing to do is to build the foundation and then you can go do what the Lions did last year.”

Jeremiah then concluded with this,

“I’m not so certain that as great as those players were, it was awesome, that
you would have seen them flourish and shine as much as they did if they
didn’t have the quarterback in place and the offense and the defensive line in
place.”

It’s good contextualization about the Lions 2023 draft haul and why so many panned it immediately. They didn’t grasp the dynamics of the team already having the premium positions solidified enough to do what Holmes so masterfully executed.

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