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Road to the Draft

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Late first-round pick won't change Lions' draft strategy

For the first time since taking over as general manager of the Detroit Lions in 2021, Brad Holmes is set to run a draft without a Top 10 pick.

Holmes said at last week's Annual League Meetings in Orlando that nothing changes in his process of taking the best player available no matter the draft slot.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell mentioned that the pre-draft process and work they've been putting in preparing for the draft is the same it's always been, and so too is the philosophy of just taking the best player on their board when it's their time on the clock.

"Since we've been here, we've really, 'Man, draft the best player available,'" Campbell said in Orlando. "Don't let the 'man, we absolutely have to have a linebacker. We absolutely have to have (blank).' Just go with what you believe is going to fit your team and what you feel like is the best player at the time."

That philosophy is even more advantageous for Holmes and Campbell given the current state of Detroit's roster after the first wave of free agency. The Lions addressed needs at cornerback with the trade for Carlton Davis, the signing of Amik Robertson and the re-signing of Emmanuel Moseley. The defensive line got better with the additions of defensive tackle DJ Reader and veteran edge rusher Marcus Davenport.

Both Holmes and Campbell said after the season that maintaining a strong offensive line wouldn't be overlooked. They proved it with the signing of veteran Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zeitler and the re-signing of Graham Glasgow.

The roster is never a finished product, according to Holmes, but he likes going into a draft knowing he doesn't have to come away with a Day 1 starter.

"Honestly, I think that's where you want to be at," he said. "That's really where you want to be with your roster where you are picking guys whether it's at pick 29 or on Day 2, you're picking guys that if he plays, he plays."

It's going to be a fun run up to the draft to see how Holmes and Campbell can improve a roster with three picks in the top 73. This is the best roster they've had heading into the draft which gives them a lot of flexibility.

"Every team in this league has warts, it doesn't matter how good you are, you've got areas you're always going to want to be able to improve in. Nobody's a perfect roster," Campbell said.

"But we're the best we've been in four years, and we feel like, man, we've got a lot of those holes filled and so this kind of feels like the first draft we're going in and, we're still best player available, but we've got places taken care of going into the draft, which is pretty cool."

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