Lions' Brad Holmes Explains Value of Draft Trade Charts

Brad Holmes doesn't rely solely on trade-value charts when making draft trades.
Brad Holmes
Brad Holmes / Junfu Han, USA TODAY NETWORK
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Trade-value charts be damned; Brad Holmes is going to march to the beat of his own drum. It's a trait he's consistently shown in his draft-day wheelings-and-dealings in his four years as Lions general manager.

Just this past April, he showcased a heavy dose of aggressiveness. He traded up four times to ultimately nab six players as part of his 2024 draft haul. In one of those trades, he traded up five spots – from No. 29 overall to the 24th overall selection – to land Alabama defensive back Terrion Arnold

While Holmes did admit to taking a look at trade-value charts prior to pulling the trigger on deals, he also acknowledged that he and the organization are willing to sacrifice some of the chart's pre-determined value to acquire a player they really want (i.e. Arnold).

“The trade chart can't predict, let's call them wild situations and chaos," Holmes told 97.1 The Ticket Thursday. "And the trade chart doesn't know which player you are trading to get. That's when you kind of throw the chart out the window. ...That's why we always go back to looking at players over positions. We use the trade chart, and again, it's a good tool. But, there are times you have to understand (it) for what it is.”

Along with dealing for Arnold, Holmes facilitated three trades on Day 3 of the draft. He traded up for offensive lineman Giovanni Manu and running back/safety Sione Vaki in the fourth round, and moved up for defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo in the sixth round.

Holmes & Co. showcased even less of an emphasis on the trade-value chart with those three deals, especially in the case of the trade for Manu.

Detroit, in fact, parted ways with its third-round selection in the 2025 NFL Draft to acquire Manu, an individual who has never played a down of football in the United States.

“Look, we try to do the best we can, in terms of assessing the value and placing the right value on him. But sometimes, when you get to Day 3 of the draft and you see what's available and what's left and how it's fell, we just kind of got in the mode of, 'Let's just get the guys that we want,’” Holmes expressed. "So, we didn't want to kind of take the risk of let's just sit back, wait and be patient, and if he's there, he's there. If he's not, he's not. No, we want these guys. That's kind of what went into trading up to get him.”

Based on Manu’s pre-draft stock, he could've been acquired as late as the sixth or seventh round. However, Holmes didn't want to run the risk of missing out on a player who he believes has a ton of upside.

“It's not about who he's going against. We know who he's going against, but, for one, he's doing what he's supposed to do versus the guys that he was going against,” Holmes said. “You see him burying multiple guys at the second level, at the line of scrimmage. You saw him playing with physicality, with tenacity and finish. Regardless of the defensive end that was rushing against him, it's no, look at his feet, look at his bend, look at his ability to change direction. And, again, he's doing what he was supposed to be doing at that level.”

Manu is one of four 2024 draft picks the Lions have already inked to a contract. Detroit has also come to agreement on deals with Vaki, Wingo and Christian Mahogany, the final pick in the team's ‘24 draft class.

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Vito Chirco


Vito has covered the NFL and the Detroit Lions for the past five years.  Has extensive reporting history of college athletics, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Mercy Athletics.  Chirco's work include NFL columns, analyzing potential Detroit Lions prospects coming out of college, NFL draft coverage and analysis of events occurring in the NFL.  Extensive broadcasting experience including hosting a Detroit Tigers podcast and co-hosting a Detroit Lions NFL podcast since 2019.