Needing Corners, Holmes explains challenges of finding fits

Justin Rogers
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but the below was the meat of it for me, I didn’t realize his early focus on CB’s as the crosschecker for the position.

But that volume doesn’t necessarily translate to success. Plus, Holmes believes teams often reach for the most physically gifted cornerback prospects because they’re hoping to hit on one of the toughest positions to secure a high-level talent. Reaching is something Holmes avoids in the draft — and doubly so, when physical tools alone are the driving factor in the decision.

“If you get wooed by the physical qualities too much, but they don’t have the intangible qualities, you can get yourself in trouble,” he said.

A longtime scout and former college scouting director prior to becoming Detroit’s general manager, Holmes has plenty of experience studying cornerback play. The way he describes it, he’s enamored by it.

“I don’t want to call myself a snob of outside corners, but I have a lot of appreciation for that position,” Holmes said. “I was a cornerback cross-check for over a decade back with the Rams. I love corner play. I just love it. I could watch DB individual (drills) all day, every day. I think it’s poetry in motion. I love DB play. Yeah, we just want to get the right fit.”

The right fit brings us back to the intangibles, some of which show up on tape and others that don’t. It’s what events like the combine are for, allowing NFL decision-makers an opportunity to dig into what makes these prospects tick, helping teams marry personality with film.

“It’s confidence, it’s wiring,” Holmes said. “Those guys, I know the money-maker is ball production, and that’s first and foremost, but you’ve got to tackle, too. The more and more you see, when your corners are tackling, that can really define who you are on defense. Yeah, those guys, the really good ones, are hard to find.”

The Lions have clearly put an emphasis on having willing tackers at the position.


Very surprised that someone this keen at grading the position has left the cupboard so bare here.


Just reading this gives me a greater appreciation of Witherspoon. When your DB-snob GM wants you at 6 but you’re not available because you went at 5, you must really be something.


It worked out for Detroit in the end, so I’m not salty about not getting him, but still. FTS.


When you look at Brad’s “busts”

They’ve still hit on the “intangibles”

But their process really shines because the ones they hit on

Seem to be elevated due to intangibles

While the “busts” haven’t been due to mental

It’s been injury luck

That’s why you can’t just swap in X player for the player you see as a “bust”

That would change their evaluation process that’s led to such success.


[quote=“1CasanovaJack, post:2, topic:32698”]
has left the cupboard so bare herel
like he said, those Corners have certain , special, intangibles and are rare -they are very hard to find . Maybe why he will settle for the “best he could find” sometimes-that wasn’t his ideal choice.

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Cant agree here, it has been mentioned before that his target was believed to be witherspoon, he also had signed moseley with the belief that he could provide low 1 or number 2 corner ability and sutton.

This would have made us 3 deep with serviceable outside corners, but witherspoon went a pick before us and moseley played one snap.

Holmes tried to address it, adding or trying to add 3 outside cb in one offseason isnt leaving it bare. It just didnt work out, but until the nfccg it didnt really tank the season.


Could be a case of looking for the “perfect fit” and over analyzing since it was his specialty.

Thinking he can find these “gems” off the street or late…

I hope we get a bona fide starter in free agency and draft an outside CB in the draft on day 1 or 2

I was very concerned about how grabby Witherspoon was in college and how that would translate in the NFL. Well, it appears that he simply took advantage of how college rules gave him that latitude. If we were to trade our first and our first pick in the 3rd the value chart says we would climb to 20-21 IF we got one of those teams to agree. That might get us a chance at the 4th best CB in this draft.

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He tried to address it in his 3rd season here. Porter and Lucas were 7th round picks I think, Iffy was more than likely going to be a safety when he was drafted but at least we used a 3rd round pick. But yes, last year he did address it and had the players stayed healthy, well, last season may have turned out differently. But trying to address it in year 3? What about years 1 and 2? He passed until last year, and the resources that he committed said that he knew it was a critical issue. I would think that he would do the same thing this season in FA but also add a draft pick from the first 3 rounds.

Could he have spent more assets prior to last offseason, sure. He was also working to build out the offense and defense as a whole.

Regardless yes i would prefer for there to be more talent at cb but really we were a couple of plays from the sb in year three of a straight rebuild with this guy at the helm. I find it hard to be too critical, but this offseason he needs to solve the DE opposite hutch and CB.

I believe he will, but man we shouldnt lose sight of where we were when these guys took over. A team broken with our star qb wanting out. These guys took over a straight mess and got us further than any group has in my lifetime, with what appears to be a sustainable structure.

With that said, yes fix CB please Holmes.


Well one is already off the market technically

Sneed just got tagged by the Chiefs.

They are reportedly willing to trade, if you are into that.

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I think we would mostly agree that last year came as a bit of a pleasant surprise. Many of those wins were of the dominant nature. Not necessarily the final score, but what we did to the Bucs, Falcons, Packers (1st time), Vikes (2nd time), Panthers, Saints (most of game) were unlike many previous Lions winning seasons. Then having all 3 playoff games (weird to even type that) quite well executed aside from one half vs SF- was a sight to behold.

I think many in here believed we were one more offseason away from truly competing, and it turns out we were a top 3-4 team in the league as it stood…

I can only imagine how much better we’d have looked with Houston healthy, Buggs head not stuck in his ass, and Moseley starting at least 11-12 games for us…

I don’t think having Moseley, Sutton, Jacobs, and Harris slated as just our “outside CB” depth chart was awful, but Holmes does need to stop counting on injury prone guys not getting injured.

Paying 3 high injury risk guys 5M each on 1 year deals is a far riskier way to spend 15MM next year, than to simply pay Sneed or D Hunter and add a Pro Bowler at a position of need!

So this quite right here is pretty telling imo, and because of it I’m going to lower a couple of CBs on my board: Wiggins, and though it pains me to say it, one of my faves Q. Mitchell.

Now Mitchell’s issue isn’t his desire, he throws himself around plenty, he’s just a really bad tackler. Bad form, rarely wraps guys up, just hurls himself up in there and hopes for the best. I won’t drop him much - he plays physically so we could think we can improve his tackling - but man the last thing we need is a CB flying around and missing tackles. (TJ Tampa is sorta like this too imo)

Arnold, DeJean and McKinstry are plus tacklers, and it’s probably Lassiter and Rakestraw’s best trait (though I have issues with other areas of their games).

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Seeing as how we share the syndrome I suggest you not move to the Pacific Northwest.

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BTW, this means you can take TJ Tampa off the board.

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I don’t think he’s a great tackler either, but like Mitchell I think it’s a technique thing more than a desire thing. They both try for hits without wrapping up. But the staff may think that if they have the mentality, they can fix the technique. Tough to say.


The wild thing, to me, at least when I watched his tape is that he never needed to do it. He just liked to. My biggest concern with Spoon was if his body could hold up launching himself around like he does. He’s not the biggest guy, but throws himself around like he’s Jack Campbell’s size.


This is still a pretty big concern imo. He missed a couple of games in December because of a hip pointer, to go along with most of training camp and at least game 1 of the season (I think his first game was against us?) with a hammy. The latter wasn’t because of his play style of course, but it’s regular NFL injuries combined with those that come from the way he plays that could see him miss a lot of games.


Old dog and new tricks at this point. He certainly has the size but it is what it is.