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7 takeaways from Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes’ post-roster press conference

On Thursday afternoon, Detroit Lions General Manager Brad Holmes joined Assistant General Manager Ray Agnew on the podium to discuss the latest roster cut, the team’s rookie class and expectations for the 2022 season.

It was an informative 30 minutes giving insight into the duo’s process, detailing the progress they think the team has made, and also revealing their thoughts on individual players.

You’ll have to take the time to watch the entire press conference for yourself, but here are the 7 biggest takeaways from the joint press conference.

1. The cut was difficult this year — even harder

It was obvious to anyone looking to create their own 53-man roster from this year’s Lions team, but Holmes confirmed what we all already knew. .

“Going back in time last year, maybe after the first few days of camp, trying to cut it down to 85, you probably could have said, ‘Yeah, I got 5,'” Holmes said. and I’m like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ I told you guys last year, and last year we cut it down to 53. So Dan and I think maybe one or two arguments But this year, fast forward, it was hard to get down to 85. After about three or so, I was like, “Okay, I don’t know if I want to do this yet.” So it just – it just got harder. ”

Well, some of it seems a little exaggerated. Cutbacks were probably easier last year, but they weren’t that easy. And I don’t think the team had that much trouble going from he’s 90 to he’s 85. Still, Holmes’ overall point stands.

2. Jeff Okuda impressed his staff

Holmes was asked which position he was most intrigued by coming to camp, and then impressed over the last month. His answer: Secondary. Holmes correctly pointed out which position in training he had the most questions about heading into camp, and he found many answers.

The biggest came from former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okuda, returning from an Achilles injury. No one really knew what to expect from him physically, mentally, or on the football field.

Holmes said, “I appreciate Jeff Okuda’s response and for him taking the challenge and winning it.” And we were open and honest with him. He took it and he earned it.”

3. The Lions expected Tim Boyle to improve, but he didn’t

Holmes was bombarded with questions about the status of backup quarterbacks. From why the Lions recalled both Tim Boyle and David Blau, to how concerned he is about Nate coming into the season with Sudfeld as backup.

Last season, Boyle got his first taste of regular-season action, going 0-3 in three starts, but Holmes said that seeing enough and gaining more experience in those games meant that Boyle could win. Said he believed he had a chance to grow into something worthwhile… Clearly, it wasn’t Boyle or Bluff.

“The first game [Boyle] Having played in his life, I learned a few things that made me want to continue working with him,” Holmes said. “And then we brought in Blau and he has previous experience. So we came up with a plan. I didn’t make that big of a leap.”

4. Brad Holmes doesn’t regret drafting an injured player

The Lions picked Levi Onzrike with a second-round pick last year and just picked Josh Pascal with a second-round pick in April of this year. Both of these players have missed a good chunk of training camp due to injuries they had already in college.

Holmes claims he knew both before the team drafted him and decided both players were worth the risk. In fact, he said Onuzurike contributed more than expected to his rookie season.

Clearly, they didn’t think On-Uzrike’s injury would last into this year. But when asked if he’s learned anything from these experiences to incorporate into further drafts, Holmes said that injury situations need to be addressed on an individual basis and that he always pays attention to how players recover. He said he could not know.

“Unfortunately he still had to deal with it, but you don’t have that crystal ball yet,” said Holmes.

In Pascal’s case, the Lyons seem unperturbed by the setback. Pascal had a hernia problem in Kentucky and Lyons knew about it. Holmes has no problem adjusting his timeline, even though the injury has flared up again and required surgery this spring.

“We are not kicking ourselves,” said Holmes. “I’m not saying, ‘Oh, I missed this or that.’ It’s what we had in mind.”

5. Ray Agnew loves Aidan Hutchinson

Agnew didn’t get much on the mic, but his eyes lit up when the conversation turned to Lions first-round pick Aidan Hutchinson.

“I can’t stop smiling,” said Agnew. “I love this kid. It’s about getting him off the edge. He’s very creative as a rusher. I’ll just say this, we got the right thing.”

6. Lions try to temper hopes for Malcolm Rodriguez

If you thought Holmes would use this opportunity to do a winning lap for the Round 6 selection of linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, who has made his way from special teams to a potential Week 1 starter. Holmes acknowledged that Rodriguez exceeded expectations, but was careful not to put too much strain on the rookie’s shoulders.

“He just got a key-in diagnosis at the translated level, but again, I don’t know[how]it will come soon,” said Holmes. , but I can’t say enough about him being a rookie. He hasn’t played an NFL game yet, so we’ll see how it goes.”

This is exactly what other Lions organizations have publicly attempted to do. “Hard Knock” made Rodriguez a star, but Detroit is trying to do some damage control to keep the world of expectations from weighing down its young kid. Shepard said not to put too much emphasis on preseason performance just yet.

“He’s[notable]in some ways, but at the same time, I know the story is out there now, and I want to get it out there. That’s a lot to put on a kid.” Shepard. “I’d like to slow down and see where the 4th, 5th and 6th weeks are.”

7. Holmes sees late game value in linebacker, safety

Following Rodriguez’s talk, Holmes was asked if the linebacker’s early success would influence how the Lions approach the draft in the future. We’ve opened up a bit about his beliefs about the value and how it relates to the draft.

“You can always look at past successes in a particular position that you might get in later rounds,” Holmes said.

He then gave the example of Rams safety Jordan Fuller, who the Rams acquired in Round 6 in 2020. Fuller quickly grew into a full-time starter.

“It was a pretty good idea for him to be a high-floor player to be a starter,” Holmes recalled.

That belief system also applies to linebackers.

“There are certain positions that you can evaluate to see where you can potentially find gold in later rounds, and inside linebackers, it’s a fair amount throughout the draft,” Holmes said.

It’s obviously very interesting because many expected the Lions to get both a safety and a linebacker early in the draft. Despite going in, the Lions waited until Pick 97 to pick a safe Kirby Joseph and didn’t pick Rodriguez until Pick 188.

This is a quote to remember when the draft season begins next year.

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