Detroit Lions fans need to start preparing. Maybe not for this year, but they should start preparing.
Because great expectations are coming.
The Lions may have won just three games last year, but the organization has received serious praise for the way they have been run over the past 16 months. Head Coach Dan Campbell assembled a highly respected coaching staff and brought national attention to the Lions’ competitiveness for most of the 2021 season, including a strong streak at the 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 top-10 consensus class. He followed that up last week with an aggressive draft that landed Detroit two top-12 picks for the first time in more than 70 years for the franchise. This project received even more media praise than the previous one, earning top five ratings by many.
But Holmes isn’t just getting praise from the media. In NFL circles, the Lions general manager is starting to turn heads. Over at The Athletic, writer Mike Sando spoke to NFL executives about each team’s 2022 draft. Here’s what one had to say about Detroit.
“I feel like this is Detroit’s best draft I’ve seen in a long time,” one executive said. “I don’t like all of their choices. I didn’t like taking the kid from Kentucky, who slows down his defense, but more than in the past, I felt like Detroit was making some smart football moves.
Josh Paschal aside slightly (who isn’t even slow), that’s high praise for Holmes. There was a lot of pressure on the first-time GM because he had a lot of valuable draft capital to work with. So far, however, he seems to have earned the respect of fans, the media and the league.
There are other passing references to what the Lions have done. An NFL executive actually thinks Minnesota won the trade with Detroit because “my curve is pretty flat and the Vikings got that third-round pick.” Another praised the selection of Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams.
“I’m a huge Jameson Williams fan – that speed, wow,” one executive said. “We were talking about Atlanta getting Drake London. Jameson Williams looks exciting. The guy from Atlanta doesn’t excite you in the same way.
It’s hard not to get carried away by the hype. I mean, when the national media writes things like that…
“This team is moving forward and has two more first round players to think about for 2023. You have every right to 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.