“Brad Holmes Goes High on 1st Round Picks”
It was an interesting first round for Brad Holmes and company. One that wasn’t predicted on anyone’s mock drafts.
The Lions selected Jahmyr Gibbs, running back from Alabama, with the 12th pick. Surprised would be an understatement to describe the pick.
But then Holmes said hold my beer and selected Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell at No. 18. Another pick that felt a little high for where he was taken.
Both players are projected to be quality guys. But the value of their selections can’t be ignored. Whether you’re trusting Holmes fully or not, you can’t deny he went against conventional wisdom.
Let’s Start in the Backfield
I sifted through a few mock drafts before starting this article. I caught Gibbs sneaking into the bottom few picks of the first round in less than half of them. The Lions drafted him at No. 12.
Don’t tell me about his talent, speed or abilities. He wasn’t projected to go this high by anyone. And most people didn’t even have him going in the first round.
ESPN’s Eric Woodyard labeled him as a ‘Day 1 rotational contributor’ in his post-draft analysis. Hopefully he turns out to be that. But at No. 12 for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, I’m hoping for more of an every down starter at this spot.
Instead, they drafted a potential rotational player. With no guarantee he becomes a starter in the near future. This doesn’t mean the Lions can’t re-sign D’Andre Swift right? They still could. Plus, what if David Montgomery takes a major step forward.
The ABC crew mainly boasted about Gibbs’ pass catching ability after he was taken. He certainly has good hands. But I’m not cool with taking a running back at No. 12 who’s best asset is his receiving ability.
The other big question I have, why not just take Bijan Robinson at six. He’s projected to be an All-Pro player, was adding the No. 34 pick worth it over not selecting him?
Campbell Isn’t As Surprising
Taking Campbell at No. 18 wasn’t as big of a surprise as the Gibbs pick but it was still a tad high than most had him going. Between the bevy of mocks I looked at some had him in the mid-20s, a couple had him late-20s. I even saw a few that had him in the second round.
Woodyard’s year one projection for Campbell is ‘plug-and-play starter’ which is something I can get behind. The first round is about finding starters. If you’re a team like the Chiefs or Eagles, maybe it’s more about a rotational guy.
The fact that Campbell should come in and start makes taking him a little high feel more worth it. Campbell is a strong old school backer who will do just fine between the tackles. What he lacks is speed to cover receivers and running backs. And there’s a big jump in athleticism from the Big Ten to the NFL.
But if Campbell steps in and is a real contributor to this defense then the pick will certainly be worth it. Anything less than that will leave you wondering if he was the right choice at 18.
These Better Work Out
I don’t think we’ll have to wait too long to see if these picks were worth it. But both players weren’t expected to be picked as high as Holmes grabbed them.
That puts extra pressure on these selections to be good. If you’re going to go against the grain you better be correct. If not it’s going to be easy to rip the decisions.
The Lions are a real threat to make the Super Bowl this year. The draft is about setting up your future. But Brad Holmes should also be looking to maximize the present. And I don’t think he did that Thursday night.
Gibbs might turn out to be a good player. And maybe he is the starting running back down the road. But I want someone who is going to help this team win right now. Someone who is going to be viewed more than a rotational contributor.
For more from the author Jeramy Stover, check him out on Twitter here: @jstover96
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Photo Credit: © Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports