The Detroit Lions raised eyebrows with their first-round selections in the 2023 NFL Draft, taking Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 12 and Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell at No. 18. Neither player was considered a first-round prospect, and Campbell was expected to be a third-round pick. Despite media skepticism, Lions general manager Brad Holmes showed his excitement for the picks.
Holmes took a straightforward approach, stating, “They’re football players. If you believe that they can have an impact for you on the football field, then you just go ahead and take them.” Both picks earned “F” grades from Yahoo Sports’ Charles McDonald, but Holmes remained unwavering in his belief in the players.
Positional value didn’t matter to Holmes, who said, “It’s not about just ‘don’t pick a running back’ because it’s not how we really view [Gibbs]. And it’s the same thing about ‘don’t pick an off-ball linebacker.’ That’s not really how we view Jack.” He maintained both players were the Lions’ top-rated prospects at the time.
Although the Lions had other options with their positions in the draft, Holmes disagreed with the notion of focusing strictly on premium positions. Instead, he affirmed that they simply took the best players for the team. He also dismissed the importance of mock draft placements in his decision-making process.
Gibbs will have a significant role in the Lions’ offense alongside running back D’Andre Swift and free-agent acquisition David Montgomery. At the same time, Campbell will start as a middle linebacker for the team. The Lions are currently the favorite to win the NFC North at +130 odds, and their first-round picks will surely play a crucial part in the outcome.
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