Brad Holmes explains how the Lions set up their draft board

Lions GM Brad Holmes has been wildly successful in using the annual NFL draft to reconstruct his team from the depths of despair into a prime Super Bowl contender. It’s no secret that Holmes has a great eye for talent and team-building. What is something of a secret is how exactly Holmes organizes what he sees with those keen evaluation eyes.

In his post-draft press conference, Holmes provided a pretty solid overview of the Lions’ process of setting the draft board, as well as the verbiage and meaning of their statuses.

“I’ll try to be as generalized as I can. It is vertically by positions,” Holmes said. “We’re not big rounds – we have it set up in a way where it equates to a round, we just don’t use the word ‘round.’ It’s the same thing with our grading scales – we don’t use ‘rounds’ on our grading scale.”

Holmes explained the “round” concept more in depth.

“Sometimes I might say, ‘We’ve got a second-round grade,’ because that’s kind of what makes sense, but the reason we kind of stay away from the whole ‘rounds’ thing is that when they come on your roster, they’re either a starter, they’re either a backup. They’re not a ‘round’ anymore. It’s not a fourth-round receiver, it’s not a sixth-round safety. He’s either a backup or he’s a high-end backup – that’s what it is. It’s vertically by position from the top to the bottom.”

When asked about the dropoff was in 2024 in the different tiers of prospects, Holmes explained the value of looking at the draft board more horizontally than vertically.

“It’s really more so – the grade will reflect what the upside and the role is, and then that’s where you kind of get the separation and gaps. Really, it’s actually cooler to look at it horizontally than it is to look at it vertically. You do so much work over the whole year that by the time you get to around to March, you have a good feel of how it looks vertically. But sometimes you’ve got to look at it horizontally with different positions, and then that’s when you can truly kind of get a sense of, ‘How good is this draft?'”

This also affords the perspective to see where, say, wide receivers rank against defensive linemen in the grand scheme of the draft class. That methodology helps explain why the Lions double-dipped at cornerback with Terrion Arnold in the first round and Ennis Rakestraw in the second.

Even though Holmes didn’t go into great specifics, it was still informative to get a peek into his thought process and how the team attacks the draft.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire