ALLEN PARK— Earlier today, the Detroit Lions ended a long, extensive, 47-day search to hire a new general manager for a football team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991. Brad Holmes, the Los Angeles Rams Director of College Scouting, was named the Lions’ newest general manager.
Over weeks of interviews, owner Sheila Hamp Ford, and a group of five advisors, including franchise legends Barry Sanders and Chris Spielman, were able to decide that Holmes would be the best fit for this team going forward. Holmes, who had to work his way up the ladder to eventually reach a position where he could be a general manager, started out his front office career as a public relations intern for the rebranded St. Louis Rams. He then spent the better part of 10 years acting as a key scouting liaison for the Rams on both the pro and collegiate side of things.
Holmes has been the Rams’ Director of College Scouting since 2013. Since 2013, the Rams have won two division titles, made a Super Bowl and earned three playoff berths, including this season.
One of the biggest priorities for Holmes will be succeeding in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was rumored to have a major influence in the Rams draft choice of Aaron Donald, a defensive tackle who is arguably the best player in the NFL, along with extensive influence in the trade and eventual drafting of franchise quarterback Jared Goff.
Holmes was also a key cog in the Rams deciding to draft future stars such as running back Todd Gurley, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, linebacker Samson Ebukam and tight end Tyer Higbee.
For a team that has spent picks on Eric Ebron and Jahlani Tavai, a draft where the Lions truly do well would be an optimal way for Holmes to start his career. Among some of the crucial early choices that Holmes has to make include hiring a new head coach to help break the cycle of mediocrity, which Hamp and the search committee will aid in, and what to do with an increasingly injury-prone Matthew Stafford, who will be 33 in February and will carry a $33 million cap hit in 2021.
He will also need to find a way to re-sign receiver Kenny Golladay, defensive end Romoe Okwara and linebacker Jarrad Davis while staying under the salary cap, which is expected to decline dramatically because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holmes has earned extensive praise from many front-office executives around the league, including being likened to longtime Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. Holmes’ ability to identify high-character young franchise players has helped turn the Rams into an NFC power.
The fact that Holmes beat out 11 other candidates is encouraging and makes one think that Detroit did their necessary due diligence when hiring a new general manager. Holmes will add a much-needed new perspective on important franchise matters, including drafting, managing player personnel and building a quality coaching staff.
Furthermore, his ability to identify young talent and foster strong player relationships could be absolutely massive for a franchise that has isolated several of its legends over the past several decades.