The first of the Lions big jobs this offseason has gone. Replacing Bob Quinn at GM is Brad Holmes.
Let's have a look at the man who, all being well, will be in Detroit for the next 5 seasons (at least!).
Brad Holmes played on the defensive line at North Carolina A&T, winning a national title and serving as team captain, perhaps proving his leadership credentials at a young age. His family has pedigree too; his father, Mel Holmes, was an offensive guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers and his uncle, cornerback Luther Bradley, was a 1st round pick of our Detroit Lions in 1978.
Holmes has spent his entire non-playing career with the Rams, starting in 2003 as a PR intern, before moving on to a scouting internship the following year and continuing to rise up the ranks, becoming the director of college scouting in 2013, thus being int he co-pilot's seat for 8 drafts with the Rams alongside GM Les Snead.
I'm going to take a look at those drafts in brief below, but first I'm going to touch on something that I see consistently from interviews that I've read about Brad, and that's his philosophy on what makes prospects important. A quote from his 2019 interview with Yahoo Sports put it best:
"When you get to the NFL level, everybody has got ability. Everybody is talented. Everybody is big, strong, athletic, fast, agile. Everybody has that. The separation is the intangibles. So you have to find out what actually drives the player. What level of passion does he have? How much does football mean to him? How hard does he really work? Does he have a mental toughness when things go bad? Can he bounce back? Can he persevere?"
I think we can expect to see some dedicated people entering Ford Field for the next 5 years.
Let's take a look at those 8 Rams drafts, with grades taken from Rams supporting websites:
R1, P8: WR Tavon Austin. Grade: C-
R1, P30: OLB Alec Ogletree. Grade: A-
R3, P71: S TJ McDonald. Grade: B+
R3, P92: WR Stedman Bailey. Grade: B-
R4, P113: OL Barrett Jones. Grade: D+
R5, P149: CB Brandon Mcgee. Grade: F
R5, P160: RB Zac Stacy. Grade: B-
Grades from ramstalk.net
R1, P2: OT Greg Robinson. Grade: F
R1, P13: DT Aaron Donald. Grade: A+
R2, P41: CB Lamarcus Joyner. Grade: B-
R3, P75: RB Tre Mason. Grade: D
R4, P110: S Maurice Alexander. Grade: B+
R6, P188 CB EJ Gaines. Grade: A
R6, P214 QB Garrett Gilbert. Grade: F
R7, P226 OT Mitchell Van Dyk. Grade: F
R7, P241 S Christian Bryant. Grade: D-
R7, P249 DE Michael Sam. Grade: F
P7, P250 C Demetrius Rhaney. Grade: C
Draft grades by ramstalk.net
R1, P10: RB Todd Gurley. Grade: A
R2, P57: OT Rob Havenstein. Grade A+
R3, P72: OT Jamon Brown. Grade: C
R3, P89: QB Sean Mannion. Grade: D+
R4, P119: OT Andrew Donnal. Grade C
R7, P224 ILB Bryce Hager. Grade: B+
R7, P227 DE Martin Ifedi. Grade: F
Grades by ramstalk.net
From here on out, the retrospective grades dry up, and the grades at the time are wholly out of date, so let's do a job well - and do it yourself.
R1, P1: QB Jared Goff. Grade: B. Goff hasn't been a total bust, he's shown absolute flashes, but mixes it in with some awful playmaking. He can't do anything that isn't planned. Certainly not what you want out of an overall no.1 pick, but if the team around him is good enough, you can win a Super Bowl with him, as they almost did in 2019.
R4, P110: TE Tyler Higbee. Grade: A. Tyler Higbee is one of the premier tight ends in the league, and they got him in Round 4. Bargain.
R4, P117: WR Pharoh Cooper. Grade: D. Highly thought of recruit who was graded A by many fansites at the time, but, whilst he made the Pro Bowl as a return specialist in 2018, he was ultimately cut later that year.
R6, P190: TE Temarrick Hemingway. Grade: F. Never see the field after injury and was cut in 2018. To date, he only has 1 reception in the NFL, though he is still a member of the Washington Football Team.
R6, P193: MLB Josh Forrest. Grade: F. Another player who was injured and then waived.
R6, P206: WR Mike Thomas. Grade: F+. At least he saw the field. He was on the team for 4 years, making 10 receptions for 144 yards.
R2, P44: TE Gerald Everett. Grade C. Still with the Rams, his 2020 season was the best to date in terms of targets (62), receptions (41) and yards (417). His catch rate has never surpassed 66.1%, and ultimately, even though he's shown improvement, you'd hope for out of a second round pick. His PFF grade dropped significantly this season to 52.2 from 76.5 and 76 in previous seasons.
R3, P69: WR Cooper Kupp. Grade A+. A top 10 receiver in this league in round 3. Bargain.
R3, P91: S John Johnson III. Grade A. A starter throughout his Rams career, he's graded above 80 per PFF in 3 of his 4 seasons and again represents tremendous value in the third round. He has 8 INTs, 1 FF and 8 TFLs with 350 total tackles.
R4, P117: WR Josh Reynolds. Grade B. Reynolds has always been up against it at wideout at the Rams, but has grown into a starter in his contract year. He posted 618 yards this season with 2 TDs and his catch rate has improved.
R4, P125: LB Samson Ebukam. Grade B+. He's played every game for the Rams since being drafted, being a starter in 2018 and 2020. 1 INT, 6 PD, 6 FF, 4 FR and 14 sacks.
R6, P189: DT Tanzel Smart. Grade E. At the Rams for 3 years, he played 29% of defensive snaps in his rookie season but this fell to 16% in 2019 and he didn't play on special teams either.
R6, P206: FB Sam Rogers. Grade: F. Rogers didn't make the roster.
R6, P234: DE Ejuan Price. Grade: F. Price played 24 snaps for the Rams and was subsequently cut.
R3, P89: OT Joesph Noteboom. Grade D. Noteboom has taken more snaps as his contract has progressed but his play has not massively improved, earning a barely acceptable grade per PFF this season.
R4, P111: C Brian Allen. Grade E. A 9 game starter in 2019 before going on IR, he has been injured for all of 2020 too.
R4, P135: DE John Franklin-Myres. Grade: E+. He had 1 FF, 1 FR and 2 sacks in his rookie season before being waived.
R5, P147: LB Micah Kiser. Grade E. He played one snap in his first 2 seasons, before becoming a 9 game starter in 2020, seeing 55% of the defensive snaps before going on IR in November 2020. He posted a 40.0 PFF grade this season.
R5, P160: LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Grade C. He's only played limited snaps but has posted reasonable grades for a 5th round pick.
R6, P176: RB John Kelly. Grade F. 30 attempts in his first two years in the league before being waived in September 2020.
R6, P192: OT Jamil Demby. Grade F. A former practice squad member of the Detroit Lions in 2018, Demby is currently without a team and played only 146 snaps in his career, all in 2019 back at the Rams.
R6, P195: DT Sebastian Joesph-Day. Grade B. A rotational player who's PFF grade of 79.5 in 2020 through 441 snaps is a terrific return in the 6th round.
R6, P205: DE Trevon Young. Grade F. He played 12 snaps before being waived.
R7, P231: LB Travin Howard. Grade E. He played 102 snaps in 2019, but was placed on IR in September 2020.
R7, P244: LB Justin Lawler. Grade E. He played 33 snaps on Defense and 223 on special teams in 2018 but has been on IR for the past two season.
For 2019 & 2020, I leave the picks below as it is probably still too early to grade these. Suffices to say that the Rams have starters from the below out of Rapp, Henderson (committee), Edwards, Akers and Fuller.
R2, P61: S Taylor Rapp
R3, P70: RB Darrell Henderson
R3, P79: CB David Long Jr
R3, P97: OT Bobby Evans
R4, P134: DT Greg Gaines
R5, P169: OT David Edwards
R7, P234: S Nick Scott
R7, P251: LB Dakota Allen
R2, P52: RB Cam Akers
R2, P57: WR Van Jefferson
R3, P84: OLB Terrell Lewis
R3, P104: S Terrell Burgess
R4, P136: TE Brycen Hopkins
R6, P199: S Jordan Fuller
R7, P234: LB Clay Johnston
R7, P248: K Sam Sloman
R7, P250: G Tremayne Anchrum
Given the Rams propensity to trade away 1st round picks, for Goff, Cooks and Ramsey respectively, the Rams have found impressive value in the later rounds, especially in 2017-2019. The number of picks each year also stands out, with 8, 11, 8 and 9 in the last four seasons.
Finally, team president and CEO Rod Wood's written statement identified that Brad's use of technology and analytics was a major draw, so expect to see the Lions move in this direction going forwards!
How are you feeling on the hire? Excited? Surprised? Disappointed? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.