In a rollercoaster first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions made waves by trading back from their number 6 pick with the Arizona Cardinals, acquiring picks 12 and 34, and ultimately selecting Jahmyr Gibbs (running back, Alabama) and Jack Campbell (linebacker, Iowa) at number 12 and number 18, respectively. Executive Vice President and General Manager Brad Holmes addressed the media, exuding confidence in their selections despite skepticism from analysts and fans.
The Lions’ Bold Approach
Social media was abuzz with confusion and even displeasure regarding the Lions’ choices. However, the confidence from Allen Park was palpable, suggesting that Holmes and his team knew exactly who they wanted and were determined to bring them on board.
While critics didn’t doubt the players’ talent, they questioned the value of selecting running backs and linebackers at that point in the draft. Holmes was unfazed by these concerns, stating that both players were the highest-rated on their draft board when chosen.
Gibbs – The Explosive Weapon
Holmes praised Jahmyr Gibbs, describing him as “explosive” and “a weapon.” The running back’s versatility excited the GM, who dismissed mock drafts projecting Gibbs in the 50s. Holmes also revealed that he believed Gibbs wouldn’t be available by pick 18 and had received texts supporting this notion.
Assistant Head Coach and Running Backs Coach Scottie Montgomery praised Gibbs’ versatility as a runner and pass-catcher, as well as his character. Montgomery called Gibbs the best “space” player in the draft and “a fantastic young man.” He also expressed confidence in veteran running back David Montgomery’s guidance for the young star.
Campbell – A Passionate Addition
Regarding Jack Campbell, Holmes said, “When we selected Jack, he was actually our highest-rated player on the draft board.” The GM emphasized the importance of a player’s impact on the field over their positional value. Holmes, prepared for multiple scenarios, confirmed that he wasn’t considering moving out of pick 18, as he wanted Campbell and got him.
Linebackers Coach Kelvin Sheppard spoke highly of Jack Campbell’s passion for the game, calling it “special.” Following an NFL combine interview, Campbell quickly topped the Lions’ list. Sheppard added that Campbell is “a Detroit guy” and “a Dan Campbell guy,” emphasizing his fit with the team culture.
NFL Draft Day Two for the Lions
As it stands, the Detroit Lions own 4 picks on day two of the NFL Draft: pick 34 (from Arizona), pick 48, pick 55 (from Minnesota) and pick 81. Whether Brad Holmes decides to stay put at the current picks remains to be seen. What you can be sure of is that Holmes has a plan going into the day and will select the best football player that he believes can help the Lions.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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