The Detroit Lions went through an extensive search for a new general manager that included 12 candidate interviews and ended with the hiring of former Los Angeles Rams director of college scouting, Brad Holmes.
Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said the team conducting the interviews, which was comprised of president Rod Wood, special assistant Chris Spielman and vice president of football administration Mike Disner, would talk about each candidate after the interview concluded. The decision to hire Holmes was unanimous.
Wood even said: "I'm a very big first-impression person. Usually within two or three minutes of every interview I'd write a quick note to myself. What was my first impression? My first impression of Brad was, this is the guy."
Both Hamp and Wood spoke about how Holmes' presentation on the use of technology and analytics really stood out to them.
"I think the one thing that Brad brought from what the Rams do is the use of analytics to really hone in on the players you can predict will fit your roster and make an impact on your team," Wood said. "Obviously there's the scouting of players through watching the person and watching them on tape, but then taking all this data that's out there and figuring out if someone runs a 40 (yard dash) at X speed and has an arm length of this, a three-cone of that, they're likely to be a good player, or they're likely not be a good player. And (the Rams) have taken that to a whole new level."
Both Hamp and Wood referred to it as "cutting edge" in the current NFL talent evaluation process.
"Brad is going to bring a lot of new ideas," Hamp said. "The analytics are fabulous, and (Holmes) says to get as much information as possible, but then there's the intuitive part of it too, and he's got that as well."
Holmes joins the Lions after spending the previous 18 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams (2003-2020). In 2013, the Rams elevated Holmes to director of college scouting, where he was responsible for overseeing the team's college scouting operations for the past eight seasons.
While holding a prominent leadership role in the player personnel department since 2013, Holmes helped the Rams build a roster that included 25 players named to the Pro Bowl during that span.
"I've always said that technology is truly an accelerator," Holmes said. "I think it's very critical to utilize the technology as the accelerator it truly is. There's so many different avenues and so many different areas in scouting and personnel where the use and acceleration of technology can be utilized in a very critical way.
"It can be even be down to just making sure that everybody that's connected that are even outside of the building that are on the road. Let's make sure this technology is being utilized properly and efficiently in the right way to make sure that's all connected and goes from the college side to the pro side, the use of analytics, the use of the evaluation process, how you communicate, that's probably one of the biggest in terms of the use of technology, but definitely there's a lot of different avenues and a lot of different products out there.
"It's something the Rams utilized heavily that opened my eyes to a lot of different things and I'm very much appreciative of that and those are some things that I will bring to the Lions."
Holmes will quickly try to implement some of those processes into Detroit's evaluation process as the team moves into free agency, the NFL Draft and what Holmes said will be a retooling of the Lions roster this offseason.