Detroit Lions fans should prepare. Maybe not for this year, but they need to start preparing.
Because great expectations are coming.
The Lions may only have won three games last year, but the organization has received serious credit for the way they have been managed over the past 16 months. Gathering a respected coaching staff, head coach Dan Campbell garnered national attention for how competitive the Lions were for most of the 2021 season, including a fine end of the season to finish 3-3 in the last six games.
General Manager Brad Holmes found a few potential elite pieces in his first draft (Penei Sewell, Amon-Ra St. Brown) – a consensus top-10 draft class. He followed it up last week with an aggressive draft in which Detroit landed two top-12 picks for the franchise for the first time in more than 70 years. This concept received even more media acclaim than the previous one, earning top five by many.
But Holmes doesn’t just get praise from the media. Within NFL circles, the general manager of the Lions is beginning to attract attention. In The Athletic, writer Mike Sando spoke to NFL executives about each team’s 2022 draft. Here’s what people had to say about Detroit.
“I feel like this is the best I’ve seen in Detroit in a long time,” said one executive. “I don’t like all their choices. I didn’t like taking the Kentucky kid who slows down their defense, but more than in the past I felt like Detroit was making moves that were football intelligent.”
Josh Paschal a little aside (who isn’t even slow), that’s a lot of credit to Holmes. There was a lot of pressure on the first CEO, as he had a lot of valuable seed capital to work with. But so far he seems to have earned the respect of the fans, the media and the league.
There are other passing references to what the Lions did. An NFL executive actually believes Minnesota won the trade with Detroit because “my curve is pretty flat and the Vikings picked that third round.” Another raved about the selection of Alabama receiver Jameson Williams.
“I’m a big fan of Jameson Williams – that speed, wow,” said one executive. “We were talking about Atlanta getting Drake London. Jameson Williams looks exciting. That guy from Atlanta doesn’t turn you on in the same way.”
It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype. I mean, when the national media writes stuff like this…
“This team is going to qualify and has two first-rounders to think about before 2023. You can be excited about the future of the Lions.” https://t.co/UWxlywP19K
— Pride Of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) May 1, 2022
… you know you’re doing something right.