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Draft Coverage

KEY QUESTIONS: How Holmes feels about 2023 draft class, Swift trade & more

The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and Lions general manager Brad Holmes came away with a number of players who have the potential to be impact players early in their Lions careers. Holmes ended up selecting seven players (four on offense and three on defense), and said he was excited about all seven players and their potential to impact this football team.

Here are the key questions from Holmes' post-draft press conference Saturday:

Does Holmes care about perceived positions of value in the draft?

The easy answer is no.

He took running back Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12 overall and inside linebacker Jack Campbell at No. 18, even though those positions aren't always thought to be "value picks" in the first round.

"I know a lot will be said, 'You acquired a running back in the first round?' We didn't acquire a running back in the first round," Holmes said. "We acquired an elite weapon to keep our offense explosive in the first round.

"We didn't acquire an inside linebacker in the first round. We acquired a legit anchor to elevate our defense in the first round. That's what the ultimate goal is. That's what our vision is and we couldn't be more excited about how the weekend went."

Does Holmes believe he got some immediate impact rookies this weekend?

"I think you take a Jahmyr Gibbs. He's right now. He's Day 1," Holmes said. "Jack Campbell. We expect him to make an immediate impact. Sam LaPorta. A guy that's more along the lines of a gritty weapon. I do think Sam will have an early impact."

Even though the Lions added a lot of veteran talent to their secondary with the free-agent signings of C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley, Holmes said Brian Branch has a chance to make an early impact on defense and if not will certainly make a big, early impact on special teams.

What went behind the D'Andre Swift trade to Philadelphia?

Holmes agreed to trade Swift and a seventh-round pick (No. 249) to the Eagles for a 2025 fourth-round pick and a seventh-round pick (No. 219) Saturday. Holmes said the trade was a simple case of Swift being in the last year of his contract and him viewing Gibbs as their future at the position.

"We don't draft scared," Holmes said. "We don't play scared. The thing with Jahmyr Gibbs is that's the guy that we love. Having to keep that laser focus for the future, but also doing the right thing for the player."

Swift is from Philadelphia and that's a good football team he'll be joining.

Was it important to add to the receiver room this weekend with the suspension of Jameson Williams looming and the release of Quintez Cephus?

"First of all, at the receiver position, you just really can never have enough of them," Holmes said of the addition of seventh-round wide receiver Antoine Green out of North Carolina.

"Specifically with Jameson, he made a mistake. He takes accountability of it. He knows it. Yes, he is young, he understands the mistake he made, and we've had transparent open conversations about it."

Holmes was asked if he's worried about Williams being an immature player. He said he doesn't have that concern.

"We have confidence that he's going to take the right approach and he's going to have the right response," Holmes said. "Feel really good in terms of just having him through the remainder of the offseason program and training camp and we'll have a good plan for him when he has to depart and when he has to return."

How does Holmes view the competition in the quarterback room after the selection of Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker in the third round?

Holmes admitted he didn't do enough over his first two seasons to address the quarterback position behind starter Jared Goff. He said finally in his third season he felt the rest of the roster was at a point where addressing that position made sense.

Hooker was the right guy to do it. He's experienced and mature, and Holmes really likes his developmental traits. Hooker is only five months removed from a torn ACL, so this season is all about him getting healthy and learning behind Goff and Nate Sudfeld.

Holmes said he never thought about a quarterback controversy selecting Hooker. He's a rookie third-round pick and Goff is clearly the guy in 2023.

"We didn't draft him No. 6 overall when we were there or anything like that," Holmes said. "He's got to get healthy, and he's got to develop."

View photos of Detroit Lions first-round picks Jahmyr Gibbs & Jack Campbell arriving in Detroit and touring the Allen Park training facility.

What is the expectation going into the 2023 season after the offseason they had and the completion of the draft?

Holmes said his goal all offseason has been to build a roster that doesn't take a step back from last season's step forward to a 9-8 record and nearly making the playoffs.

"We appreciate and we are extremely proud of the success last year, but we didn't make the playoffs," Holmes said. "We didn't make the playoffs and that's not good enough. We have to get to the point as a football team where we can put ourselves in a position where we can get into the postseason and hopefully make some noise."

Does Holmes think they have the talent to do that in 2023?

"I do, yes."

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