Just before the calendar flipped to April, the National Football League converged at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. Front office members and coaches came together for the league’s annual meetings to discuss rule changes and policies for the upcoming season.
For Lions fans, it was monumental because it was the first owners meeting that Dan Campbell was in attendance for -- and, much to the pleasure of those faithful, the third-year head coach stepped in front of a microphone and answered some questions.
Plenty was discussed from the successes the Lions have had in free agency, the rule change submissions they made to the league, and most importantly, the team’s plans for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Here are just a few of the best snippets from Dan Campbell’s and Brad Holmes’ media availability that are sure to get the Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid flowing.
“To take the next step you’re shooting for the division. I think we are positioned to swing with the big boys this year.”Dan Campbell
Campbell has every reason to set this as a goal for his team. Winning the NFC North, something the Lions haven’t done since 1992, now appears to be in the cards. Las Vegas currently has Detroit at +150 odds to win the division and you have to believe it is because of the vast improvement their roster has undergone since the new league year began.
Signing premier players like C.J. Gardner Johnson and David Montgomery are acquisitions that NFL teams with intentions of being contenders make. Throw in the fact that the Lions will no longer have to play Aaron Rodgers twice a year and there is reason to think that maybe, just maybe, Ford Field will host its first-ever playoff game in Jan. 2024.
“We always say we are just going to take the best football player for us, we don’t have a depth chart in our draft room. I think that everything that we’ve done out of free agency, you know I think that we are in a better position to really just take the best player available.”Brad Holmes
It’s almost hard to fathom that Brad Holmes is preparing for his third draft as general manager of the Lions. And once again, for the third year in a row, he really can’t go wrong with whatever position he decides to grab with the 6th overall pick, or the 18th overall pick for that matter.
Bolstering the defensive back room was obviously the number one priority for Holmes and company this offseason. Signing Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley along with C.J. Gardner Johnson has given defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn a lot more tools to work with come fall. The Lions also reunited with players like Graham Glasgow and Marvin Jones Jr. to address the depth at the offensive line and wide receiver positions respectively.
But even after all that movement, it shouldn’t be surprising if the front office decides to double down on any of those spots on the roster and take a young player they can continue to build around.
Speaking of doubling down, Dan Campbell had the same sentiment when asked about the draft. “This year as with most, you are always looking to upgrade, and free agency has given us the ability – in areas to, man we can do whatever we need to do in the draft,” Campbell said. “I would say man, it doesn’t matter what the position is, if we can upgrade our team, top to bottom, we will do that.”
Let's get it! pic.twitter.com/RGmLoHBH2t— Detroit Lions (@Lions) March 30, 2023
“Lamar is a heck of a talent. You know trying to defend him is something else, we played them two years ago, but man we got a quarterback. We got a quarterback and thank god we got a quarterback. So, we’re good.”Dan Campbell
Lamar Jackson’s drama with the Baltimore Ravens this spring has taken the NFL news world by storm. There is pretty much no way of knowing what uniform he may be wearing in 2023, but that isn’t going to stop some from speculating that maybe the Lions should dip their toe in the water.
Luckily, Campbell kind of clears the air when asked directly about the MVP quarterback. Better yet, instead of solely snubbing the idea and moving on, he proclaims the faith the organization has in Jared Goff.
The Lions brass hasn’t wavered from their guy ever since trading for him. In January, Brad Holmes said he doesn’t view Goff as a “bridge quarterback.”
However, the long-term future of the Lions signal-caller still has reason for skepticism. Which is why QB also falls under the list of positions that Detroit could end up selecting at any point in this month’s draft.
This year’s crop of quarterbacks is arguably the deepest and most talented the new regime has seen since taking over at the beginning of 2021. If that wasn’t enough, the backup quarterback role is certainly not set in stone going into the new year, even after the team signed Nate Sudfeld to a new one-year contract.
Everything is truly on the table with the Lions when it comes to the draft. That shouldn’t strike fear in the fanbase because the team is already better on paper than it was not too long ago when they beat Green Bay in week 18 of last season. It should instead bring an excitement the people of Detroit haven’t felt in a very long time.