We know how players are ranked, but what do teams actually need?

There a recurring theme I see in player rankings versus team needs, and surprise, they seldom match up. This year is no different, and the recurring theme from the team needs side of the aisle is OL, DL, CB, Edge as the 4 most popular team needs of all teams.

This flies in the face of mock drafts predicting 4 QB’s, 3 TE’s, 2 RB’s and a partridge in a pear tree in the first round. It’s also where fantasy meets reality.

Understanding the way certain GM’s pick, what they prioritize and what they don’t, or what you can discern from the organizations that they came from, is as intrinsic to predicting the way things will go as a player ranking sheet.

For instance, Arizona at #3 has been consistently linked with Edge Will Anderson…and yet… their GM is newly minted from the Patriots who have a predilection towards building offensive lines up. The Cardinals have but one returning offensive line starter returning. Would it surprise you to know they are having a Top 30 visit with Paris Johnson Jr?

Ready for your mock draft world to get upended?

That’s but one example of where the rubber meets the road. It will be interesting to see how the reality of the first round meets with expectations, but I do believe that people are failing to give proper weight to GM tendencies and team needs when working through these mocks. Something to contemplate.


So this is absolutely true, I used to do a big community mock where I made every pick and I would go onto other team forums to get a feel for the way they did things. Some of them still hold to this day.

GB is a high-RAS front office. Everyone Gutekunst picks early is a great testing athlete. Will be fairly active moving around the board.

Seattle has length thresholds. Kancey won’t even be on their board, for instance. And plenty of corners too. I know it used to be a threshold of 32-inch arms, but I think they’ve relaxed it a little. There’s still a limit though.

New Orleans prefers their edges to be long, large and strong, and don’t care so much about bend or cornering ability. They will be very aggressive trading up.

Roseman in Philly typically drafts high-value positions and leans heavily on both lines. Also likes to move around the board.

Cincinnati almost never trades their picks. I think it’s happened once or twice since Tobin’s been there (24 years) and once involved a player. They’re also one of the leakiest teams, word usually comes out about who they like (Ragnow was a big one).

Dallas drafts players they’ve visited with almost exclusively. Denver used to as well when Elway was around but that’s probably changed now.

Belichick will do damn near anything, but it won’t be something we expect. He’s drafted 1st round RBs, OGs, Edge players, DTs, WRs and plenty of LBs. Most of them are reaches vs consensus.

San Francisco uses sparQ which is an athletic scoring system. It’s not similar to RAS but basically the testing gets plugged into a formula and spits out a number. They also like CBs with long arms.

There’s more as well but those are the ones I remember off the top of my head. And there’s exceptions to pretty much all of them, but for the most part it’s how these teams operate.


How would you describe Brad Holmes drafting style? Thanks!

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Good question, and one which 31 other people would pay for the answer to. My interpretation of how Brad Holmes approaches the GM position is steeped in his own personal history.

Holmes served under four different GM’S, charting the successes and failures that accompanied each of them. From the insulation of the Rams, he’s been cross pollinated by inheriting a front office with the Lions and the coaching staff with strong Bill Parcells influences. This, I believe, has led to a remarkably different product that exhibits hybrid vigor.

I think Holmes first impulse is to move around the board in pursuit of players he’s zeroed in on. I believe the people around him help to keep him patient enough to let the board come to him for the most part.

Holmes isn’t afraid to defy the status quo, but these moves are tempered by the burns he’s experienced in the past. He’s going to avoid the Greg Robinson mistakes, he’s not going to reach up high, he’s going to capitalize on BATFAN that integrates with team culture after top of the board is off the table.

He is not risk averse, but at the same time hedges his bets. Early indications are a tendency towards double dipping at the area of greatest need. Seems prone towards moving up the board to get what he’s determined as superior talent and down the board afterwards to acquire more darts to throw.

It will be interesting to see how long he sticks to the trenches, as historical indicators show guys like Todd Gurley and other perceived low value positions getting their turn in the Rams pipeline which he signed off on, paired with a Parcells influence towards a strong running game.

Two years is such a small sample size, but I do think the odds are high that Holmes will look to build safe with one first round pick, and make a splash with the other.


Right, @TCLion has it nailed that the sample size is really too small to make any sweeping generalizations, but he has shown some patterns so far, which can really be seen in a couple of great threads floating around in here:

Those both give a thorough understanding of the type of GM Brad has been so far. He likes athletes at high-value positions more so than pretty much any other GM in the league. But again the sample size is small and those tendencies could still change given the right circumstance.

So based on your assessment Brads draft could look something like this

6 and 55 to Arizona for 3

Lions Draft Will Anderson

22 and 86 from Ravens for 18

Lions Draft Bijan Robinson or top rated OL on board

I could see the first trade but not the latter. I doubt he’d give up so much capital for low-value positions. But again that’s based only on 2 years worth of data, so it could be wrong. It’s what he’s done so far though.

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This is spot on. Brad actually talked about this at the owners meetings.

He said they do not and will not ever have a depth chart in their draft room. He’s never liked the approach. They simply rank highly talented guys who they think are smart football players and fit the culture of the team, regardless of position.

We could say the Lions LB room is the weakest of the defense. So maybe there’s a really nice, quality LB sitting there when they are on the board. But, there is a CB who has good cover skills and isn’t afraid to run tackle. CB is ranked just slightly higher than said LB on their board.

Brad is taking the CB with the thinking that a stronger backend makes his LBs better.

Or maybe there’s a stud WR who they love and he is two spots above that same LB on their list. He’s taking the WR with the thinking that making the offense better helps the defense when it comes to playing complimentary football.

Also said when it comes to trades, he doesn’t shy away. If he thinks the player he wants is a good fit and the trade value makes sense, he will pull the trigger 10 out of 10 times.

It’s a very nice listen. I know there’s a thread about it on here because I commented in it about Brad giving a master class in talking for a half hour and not saying anything. Just enough to make the media feel like they haven’t wasted their time.

Which, by the way, I don’t think it was a solely calculated move to keep them happy. I think part of it was the fact he does have a good relationship with them and doesn’t mind sharing some things so that in reality they didn’t waste their time. Remember, he started in media relations. He knows the other side of things.

Great post. This is why I love Brad, he GMs the way I would lol. At least so far.

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I think to properly evaluate Brad you have to look at Dorsey too. He has a bigger impact on our draft process than fans give credit for. He’s constantly in Brads ear and influences the way Brad drafts at times.


Also to add to this:


:100: %. It’s an incredible mix of different backgrounds at work for the Lions front office right now, and it seems to be working :muscle:. Whereas Quinn was primarily looking at trading with Patriots people he knew, the sheer number of contacts in this front office is mind boggling.

Who saw us trading up with Minnesota last year?

Nothing is off the table and nothing is taboo.

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Just to reiterate, when putting together a mock, don’t be afraid to make the deep delve into the minds of others, you might be surprised at how accurate the results are.

For instance, I’m really liking Paris Johnson to the Cardinals right now. I do. Maybe that comes with a trade down, but right now I’m inclined to believe it if they stand pat.

You must be NOT new here. :rofl:



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Yeah, I definitely think Dorsey has had a big effect on Brad. He’s generally a high-value position guy as well. In 5 years in charge of the Chiefs he selected a QB, 2 edge players, a DT, an OT and a CB in the 1st two rounds, and with the Browns he added another QB and 2 CBs. The only lower value position he selected was two C’s, Mitch Morse and Austin Corbett, and RB Nick Chubb, all in the 2nd round.

But unlike Brad he was notorious for taking chances on players with off-the-field red flags. Some worked like gangbusters with Tyreek, Kareem Hunt, Marcus Peters and Kelce, some flopped like Antonio Calloway, Desmond Harrison and KeiVarae Russell, but it’s not something we’ve seen Brad do yet.

I’d also add that Dorsey was notorious for his poor managerial style. This is what ultimately got him fired in Kansas City. This article does a great job of expounding on those issues.


Of particular interest are the following sections:

“Given the power each then wielded, the stock criticism of Dorsey—that while he’s incredibly respected as an evaluator, he’s more scout than manager—was validated with a level of disorganization that was noticeable before the hyper-organized Ballard departed, and obvious after he left for Indy.”

" As one source explained it, “It wasn’t dysfunction so much as it was decisions were being made that seemed to come out of nowhere. So that existed, but the people here weren’t aware that ownership was aware of it. … You look back now, how it worked out, and ownership was more aware that it didn’t need to be run that way.”

"There were also a few flash points to prove it out over the past 18 months:

• The selection of Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. That move stunned scouts and coaches, based on the evaluation and meetings leading up to the draft. Hogan didn’t wind up making the team four months later, and started last season on the Browns’ practice squad.

• The four-year, $48 million extension with left tackle Eric Fisher in August 2016. At the time of signing, Fisher had failed to entrench himself at the left tackle spot he was drafted to play. In fact, Fisher lost the job to Donald Stephenson during the 2015 season, and Fisher was flipped to the right side. The Chiefs still did the big contract, despite having a year left on Fisher’s rookie deal, and an option year after that.

• The five-year, $41.25 million deal for guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in February. This deal came, like Fisher’s, in Duvernay-Tardif’s first offseason eligible for a second contract. Meanwhile, the Justin Houston and Eric Berry contract talks simmered—cap guru Trip MacCracken was let go last month—and the team has spent the past couple years perilously close to the salary cap."

“Others in the building saw signs of decisions becoming less collaborative, and more centered on Dorsey’s instincts. It also didn’t go unnoticed that Dorsey’s draft picks, like Fisher and Duvernay-Tardif, were the ones getting paid early. And the way the Jeremy Maclin release was handled—key members of the staff didn’t know until after it became public—didn’t help squash the internal whispering.”

And of course there was the colossal failure of hiding Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland.

I would argue Brad has already shown more in 2 years from a managerial standpoint than Dorsey ever showed.