The Detroit Lions have a culture to change and voids to fill in multiple areas of the team's roster, yet that didn't keep the team's new general manager from throwing a bit of signal-caller bait into the conversation Tuesday.
Brad Holmes covered a myriad of topics during his session with reporters, acknowledging the strength of the 2021 class at a variety of positions. Despite acquiring Jared Goff in a trade that will become official with the start of the new league year, Holmes didn't shy away from talking quarterback.
"This draft class is a good class overall. There are some positions of strength," Holmes said. "I think that the quarterback class is good this year. I like the crop of quarterbacks that are coming out in this year's draft. That's obviously always a very, very important position. When you're picking inside the top 10, I don't think there's really a position that you can look past. ... When you're picking inside the top 10, you better know every single position regardless of what your circumstances currently on your roster."
Completion of research across all positions is a valid point made by Holmes and a necessity for any effective personnel chief, but after adding Goff and a collection of picks in the deal that sent Matthew Stafford west, it would appear to be low on Detroit's long list of priorities. Chief among them is receiver, something coach Dan Campbell admitted Tuesday, but Holmes' response sure did sound as if the Lions aren't just glossing over the position because they've found their immediate answer in Goff.
"What's cool about this year is that they're in all different flavors," Holmes continued. "You have the guy that can actually do it all, can do it from the pocket, do it with his legs; you have another guy that's probably a little more does it with his legs, a little bit more being creative; there's another guy that actually probably does it more from the pocket. All the different flavors makes it very intriguing in terms of when you're looking across the whole scope of the class of these quarterbacks.
"We do think again when you're picking in the top 10 ... you make sure you know that quarterback class very thoroughly. I do think that, to be elaborate, the intriguing part is they have their all-different genres and flavors. What's been great about (it) for the Lions is that Dan and coach (Anthony) Lynn, they've been in lock-step in terms of the visions, been clear in terms of when you look at scheme and this and that and all those minute details, it's 'OK, what do our players do best?' and making sure our players are going to be put in the best position to succeed. So you take the same approach with the quarterbacks and see what their superpower is and is that superpower the best thing that's going to fit for the Lions?"
Frankly, the Lions need heroes elsewhere, but this would be an excellent attempt to drive up the value of Detroit's first-round pick, which sits at seventh overall. The Lions wouldn't need to do all that much to make their pick more valuable than it already is, especially with teams like New England, Washington, Chicago and Pittsburgh seated behind them in the first-round order and lacking long-term options at the position.
It could be a great opportunity to add more draft capital though, and with the Lions heading into the offseason with a need at receiver, guard and safety (among depth needs elsewhere), they could use additional picks.
Detroit also needs to make a decision on how it will use its franchise tag, a designation that could be placed on either receiver Kenny Golladay -- Detroit's best young receiver headed for free agency -- or edge rusher Romeo Okwara.
"We want to make the best decision for the Lions, and sometimes those decisions take a little bit longer," Holmes said. "We're not gonna rush it, so whether it is a franchise tag on a Romeo (Okwara) or Kenny (Golladay) or whoever it is, we'll definitely have a process in place that we believe in that we're trusting ... and we're sticking to it and (making) sure it meets the Detroit Lions' timeline and that's really the thing that matters the most."
Golladay seems like a receiver the Lions can't afford to let walk, even if they're up against a cap projected to be significantly lower than it was in 2020. With Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola and Mohamed Sanu headed for free agency, only second-year pass-catcher Quintez Cephus is on the books for 2021, and he's far from a No. 1 receiver. Golladay would fill that role and help stem a tide that's rushing out to sea at the position.
"I don't think there's any debate that Kenny has shown the ability to be a No. 1 receiver in this league, with that skill-set that everybody knows that he has," Holmes said. "There's also been no debate that Kenny's been at the forefront of our mind in terms of making sure that we make the best possible decision for not only the Lions, but for Kenny. ... You'll hear about what we'll be doing shortly."
Additional picks would help fill out the rest of the group, which promises to be younger in 2021. More roster moves will likely precede such a decision, too, with the Lions needing to determine whether they'll keep some of their veterans or cut them to create space. Without revealing which direction they'll proceed, Campbell said Tuesday decisions are imminent, and added he's comfortable with ceding control to Holmes and the personnel department as the Lions aim to work cohesively toward turning the franchise into a winner Campbell has stated Detroit deserves.
"Here's what I would say about a true alpha: A true alpha knows when it's time to concede for the betterment of the team," Campbell said. ... "We haven't had one problem, and we're not going to have a problem because if we feel like it's the betterment for the team, then ultimately let's go to work. Brad feels one way? What does the pack feel like? How does everybody feel? How do all the coaches feel? How does Ray Agnew feel? If I'm the one, the odd man out, I got zero problem."
Campbell has a lot of work to accomplish on the field in the season ahead, but he doesn't need to fight unnecessary battles beforehand. If anything, it sounds as if the Lions are on the same page about where their roster currently stands, and they're prepared to reshape their roster in their image. That should include Golladay, Okwara and Goff -- and might end up netting them additional picks to expedite their attempts to become a successful club.