Now that we are three years removed from his first draft as the Detroit Lions' general manager, we can officially hand out grades to the picks Brad Holmes made back in 2021. Or at least, according to him... Holmes went on a rant for the ages earlier this week when he went to town on all the local media reporters who panned his initial NFL Draft leading the charge in the Detroit war room. It was a doozy...
For those who don't remember, here are the players the Lions selected in the 2021NFL Draft:
- Oregon OT Penei Sewell (No. 7 overall)
- Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike (No. 41 overall)
- North Carolina State DT Alim McNeil (No. 72 overall)
- Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (No. 101 overall)
- USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (No. 112 overall)
- Purdue LB Derrick Barnes (No. 113 overall)
- Oregon State RB Jermar Jefferson (No. 257 overall)
Many of these players helped the 2023 Lions have their best season in over 30 years as a franchise.
And no, Holmes was not done cooking. He seemed to relish this judgement day of accountability.
Holmes specifically called out the media for their critiques and coverage of that draft, saying he only gives credit to two of the reporters in attendance for admitting they were wrong.
Whether it was taking Penei Sewell No. 7 overall out of Oregon in the first round, waiting too long to draft a wide receiver by taking Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round out of USC, or simply not having patience to let former Purdue linebacker Derrick Barnes to develop, Holmes kept receipts. He even kept receipts on what people thought of using the one compensatory pick on Ifeatu Melifonwu.
You can have moments like this if you are winning, but the Lions should be playing in the Super Bowl...
Brad Holmes roasts Lions media for questioning his 2021 NFL Draft picks
Look. The NFL stands for National Football League, but it also stands for something else: Not For Long. Sometimes, you are on top of the world and sometimes, you get toppled on. The Lions have historically been at the bottom of the rubble of what used to be a great franchise back in the 1950s. They had some relative success in the 1990s when Barry Sanders was their star player, but that is it.
While it may seem pretty cool that Holmes is pretty much flaying the Detroit media in front of their peers, all it takes is one bad draft, combined with an awful free agency to have your beloved football franchise at the bottom of the pile. It is the media's job to hold authoritative figures accountable. Although coaches, players and front-office executives can do the same, the media keeps receipts...
No, I don't anticipate for Holmes to have a bad draft or free agency in the coming years, but picking in the late 20s is not the same as picking inside the top 10. You really have to do your homework, grind the tape and trust your college scouting department more than ever. There are gems to be mined everywhere in the college football landscape, you just have to know where to look and go to work.
Holmes' 2021 NFL Draft got the Lions back on top, but now it is all about sustaining excellence.