Why You Should Trust Brad Holmes

The Detroit Lions had an incredible 2024 season, ending with a 12-5 record during the regular season and making it all the way to the NFC championship, where they eventually lost 31-34 to the San Francisco 49ers.

While it is essential to applaud the players on the field for putting their blood, sweat, and tears into the game, it is fundamental that we acknowledge this one person who, behind the scenes, is a vital part of the Detroit Lion’s success, Brad Holmes. Until 2020, Holmes worked for the Los Angeles Rams for 17 years, spending his last seven years as the Director of College Scouting.

Although, it is clear that through Holme’s experience in scouting, he can see a talented player from a mile away, many were skeptical if going from College Scout to General Manager was too big of a jump for Holmes. But, during his three years with the Detroit Lions, Holmes has proved to be more than qualified for the job, and here are four reasons why. 

Detroit Lions Fans Should Trust Brad Holmes

1. Sam LaPorta

Many people were skeptical about Holmes’ decision to draft the tight end out of Iowa 34th overall in the 2023 draft. Yet, Holmes saw it necessary to find a worthy contender to replace previous tight end T.J. Hockenson, who was traded to the Minnesota Vikings last November. At the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, LaPorta ran an impressive 4.59 40-yard dash, strikingly faster than most tight ends. His speed and remarkable body movement made it easy for him to get open for passes. LaPorta ended the 2024 season, leading the league in touchdowns, 11 to be exact, including nine in the red zone. He also recorded 1,065 yards and 59 first downs.

If LaPorta grows exponentially, he will be one of the strongest tight ends in the league. NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein projected LaPorta as a third-round draft pick with a score of 6.18, and “Good Backup With The Potential To Develop Into Starter”. It is safe to say that LaPorta defied all expectations and proved to the football world that he does deserve the starting TE spot. 

2. Amon-Ra St.Brown

Amon-Ra St. Brown, the 5’11, 197-pound Wide Receiver, was the seventh pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft. St. Brown’s Combine report described a wide receiver the Lions are unfamiliar with. It cited issues with run blocking, play strength, quickness of his feet, long speed, and poor separation bursts from breaks. Overall, St. Brown scored 6.21, “Will Eventually Be Average Starter”. 

Yet, it seems the Lions lucked out by snagging St. Brown in the fourth round. St. Brown finished the season with 190 targets, the second-highest in the NFL. St. Brown also averaged an impressive 12.7-yard average per reception. St. Brown quickly became a star receiver on the Lions and is looking at a contract extension worth far more than the four-million-dollar rookie contract he signed in 2021. 

3. Jahmyr Gibbs

It is not an understatement to say that people hesitated about Holmes’ decision to pick Gibbs 12th overall in the 2023 draft. A running back is rarely picked during the first round of the NFL draft, let alone in the top 12. Yet Holmes saw something in Gibbs that made it worth it picking him so far up. Gibbs was reported to have incredible acceleration, ease when changing direction, and an astonishing ability to burst into the open field.

It was evident that Holmes’ risky decision paid off. During his rookie season of 15 games, Gibbs racked up 945 yards rushing, neck and neck with the league’s most seasoned running backs, such as Breece Hall and D’Andre Swift. Gibbs also managed to finish his season with ten touchdowns rushing. As a rookie, Gibbs has proved that he can keep up with the fast nature of the game while being on the road to be one of the best. 

4. David Montgomery

In March 2023, the Detroit Lions signed ex-Bears running back David Montgomery to a three-year contract with 18 million dollars. Unfortunately, the arrival of Montgomery meant the end of Jamaal Williams‘ time in Detroit. The football world fell in love with Williams’ grit and personality, and his not being a Lion was almost incomprehensible.

Although Montgomery may not have the same fiery spirit that Williams has, he certainly has just as much talent, if not more. Montgomery totaled 1,015 yards rushing, averaging 4.6 yards, 13 touchdowns rushing, and 117 yards receiving. To anyone who watched the Lions regularly, it is clear that Montgomery is a highly talented player, mainly because of his ability to stay patient, his vision when looking for routes, and to escape the tackles of defenders. Although Williams is greatly missed, it is clear that Montgomery and Gibbs make an elite pair, which will hopefully lead the Lions to the Superbowl in the coming season.

As we watch the 2024 NFL Draft, whether that be at Ford Field or in the comfort of your own home, there is one thing we all must agree on. We all must trust Holmes’ decisions. He can see something in players that the general public or sports analysts cannot see. No longer is Holmes just a College scout, but one of the best general managers in the league currently. 

Main Image: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

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