The long-awaited debut of the newest “Inside The Den” episode was recently released by the award-winning Detroit Lions Media Department, and it was well worth the wait.
This episode focused on the behind-the-scenes action for the Lions during the 2022 NFL Draft. This episode caught some amazing moments between Lions General Manager Brad Holmes and Head Coach Dan Campbell. It also focused primarily on the top few rounds where the team obtained four quality football players that they seemed to have targeted long before the draft ever even started.
Let’s take a look at some of the great quotes and moments during this 52-minute video that all Lions fans should support.
The video starts with a multitude of different national media praising the Lions for their draft. Peter Schrager (Good Morning Football), Tom Pelisero (NFL Network), and Chris Simms (NBC Sports) just to name a few.
Almost every one of those analysts noted that the Lions obtained the “best defensive player in the draft and the best offensive playmaker in the draft” and that it is rarely if ever done by one team in the NFL Draft.
Last year the Lions were changing their leadership from top to bottom, and this year they were much farther ahead when it comes to preparation and process than they were previously entering this draft. “More organized, more time, and more capital this year,” said Holmes
As the footage showed, there was tension in the room as the draft began with the Lions not knowing who would go first overall. The Lions were thrilled to get Hutchinson but were very nervous leading up to that first overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars and that was clear on the face of Campbell where Holmes said he had played out all the options in his head over and over again leading up to this day. There was a big fist pump from Dan Campbell when the Jags selected Travon Walker (Georgia) over Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan).
“Only one name was up on the board!”, Holmes said to Campbell that their selection and preference were clear. Campbell loved the pick and kept repeating “we got a football player right there, we got a football player.”
Hutchinson was so great during his pre-draft meeting and it was evident how physical he wanted to play and his love for football and the Lions brass loved his mentality.
“The thing that jumps out about Aidan, you are getting a guy that is relentless and plays football the way it’s supposed to be played,” said Lance Newmark, Director of player personnel.
“He’s a Detroit Lion through and through,” noted Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
“Now the real work begins,” said Holmes after taking Hutchinson, and he now put his plan into action of potentially trading up for one particular player he’s had his eye on for a long time.
The video showed that he had already laid the groundwork with a multitude of teams, but the Minnesota Vikings in particular. Holmes would now follow up on those discussions with the Vikings in hopes to land the player he targeted.
Jameson Williams, a wide receiver from Alabama appeared to be their one and only trade target and someone they had coveted all along.
Campbell seemed to think that the Saints trading up right in front of them might take their guy, but Holmes felt they might want someone right away that could help them on Day 1 and Williams was still recovering from his ACL injury suffered in the NCAA National Championship game. They then said to each other, “Dude, we are going to get him”.
Holmes pounded the desk with the same excitement the moment he knew his guy was still there as he did the previous year when he was able to draft Sewell, and jumped on the phone to finalize things with the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, rookie General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings.
They quickly finalized the deal, but it appears Holmes never specifically told Minnesota his target while doing the trade-up. The Lions could not be more ecstatic about completing this trade and now securing this type of top talent at the wide receiver position.
“This guy can be a potential game-changer and a true # 1 wide receiver. Those guys do not come along very often. A guy with his rare game-changing speed, yet so physical and gritty. Those are the guys we want to build our team around and our program and make cornerstones of our franchise. ” stated Brad Holmes.
There appeared to be excellent communication with Lions Owner Shelia Hamp throughout the draft and especially on why the first two picks are such good fits for the type of team they are building in Detroit.
Day 1 review by Campbell, “exactly the way it played out is what we thought was going to happen. That’s why we made the move we made. It’s awesome! ”
As the draft progressed into Day 2, the Lions weren’t done getting some of their top targets. They sweated out pick after pick hoping their guy would fall to them for their 2nd-round pick (46 Overall). Sure enough, Josh Paschal from Kentucky was there and that was the player they really wanted badly with that selection.
Chris Spielman seemed most excited about the Paschal pick as he appeared to heavily endorse this player.
Paschal was someone they really wanted based on what Holmes deemed as “elite intangibles”.
“Passionate and powerful” is how Paschal described his own play while being interviewed by the Lions at the NFL scouting combine. The Lions coaches agreed wholeheartedly with his relentless motor.
The other big targets on the Holmes and Campbell wish list, and yes they literally scribbled names down on a small sheet of paper weeks earlier it appeared and all signs point to those names on that wishlist being: Hutchinson, Williams, Paschal, and one name remaining they really hoped they could still get, but felt there is no way he would still be available when they picked in Round 3.
Kerby Joseph, Safety (Illinois) was there for them in Round 3 Pick 97 Overall which both shocked and really excited all the draft evaluators in the room. Joseph had one of the greatest moments with his family at his draft party. There was just so much love, joy, and excitement in that room.
The Lions rounded out their draft on Day 3 and these were some of the notable moments caught on video.
Multiple scouts and evaluators told Brad Holmes that James Mitchell, Tight End (Virginia) was the best player to pick in Round 5 when they were on the clock.
Spielman loved Malcomn Rodriguez, Linebacker (Oklahoma State) as a linebacker and special teams player. Rodriguez had a bitter-sweet draft day experience as he was at his Grandma’s funeral when he was drafted by the Lions.
James Houston, Linebacker (Jackson State) was intriguing to them based on his play as an off-the-ball linebacker and as a pass rusher. His numbers and explosive plays at Jackson State were eye-popping.
They took a really experienced and no-nonsense cornerback Chase Lucas from Arizona State with their final pick in the 7th Round who can compete and possibly help them with their secondary depth plus on special teams. The Lions draft was now complete and all were very excited about the players they had just obtained.
Holmes, the leader of the Lions draft room then was quoted as saying this looking back at the development and at his draft as a whole, “I really think we made some moves to solidify the future, but we are just going to stay aggressive and keep building this roster. ”
This was a great behind-the-scenes look for the Lions fans during the 2022 NFL Draft, and “HBO Hard Knocks” will also be in Allen Park soon for Training Camp which will be more tremendous footage for this die-hard fanbase to enjoy . These genuine videos help give a true glimpse into the legitimate plan this regime has for this football team, this city, and this franchise for years to come.