Ranking NFC North General Managers

Where does Lions' Brad Holmes rank among NFC North's general managers?
Brad Holmes
Brad Holmes / Trevor Ruszkowski, USA TODAY Sports

Brad Holmes has quickly emerged as one of the best general managers in the NFL. But, where does he rank among the lead front-office decision-makers in his own division?

Let's take a look now at All Lions’ ranking of the NFC North's general managers. 

4.) Ryan Poles, Bears

Both Poles and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the GM of the Vikings, took over their respective jobs in 2022. So, it was hard to choose between the two. However, due to Adofo-Mensah having a division championship and playoff appearance under his belt, I opted to go with the Minnesota executive at No. 3 and Poles in this spot here.

Poles took on an unenviable position in ‘22, taking over a team that had gone 6-11 the season prior and struggled to both score points and stop the opposition. He inherited Justin Fields as the team's starting signal-caller, and soon found out that he wasn't the man for the job in the Windy City. 

Kudos to Poles for moving on from the Ohio State product and drafting Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick in this past April's NFL Draft. I also give the Chicago GM credit for going all-in to improve his defense, inking linebackers T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds to free-agent deals last offseason. He also pulled off an impressive deal at last year's trade deadline, acquiring EDGE rusher Montez Sweat from the Commanders. 

I think Poles has done a solid job in revamping the Bears’ roster, and has put the franchise in position to at least be the third-best team in the division. 

3.) Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

Perhaps the biggest move that Adofo-Mensah has made in his Vikings tenure (which began in 2022) was hiring head coach Kevin O'Connell. O’Connell's coaching played an instrumental role in the team winning 13 games and winning the NFC North in 2022. 

I'll give Adofo-Mensah and O'Connell credit for keeping the Vikings afloat after former Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins tore his ACL in Week 8 against the Packers. Adofo-Mensah proceeded to acquire Josh Dobbs from the Cardinals, who was temporarily decent. And with Dobbs, Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall under center in Cousins’ place, the Vikings stayed mostly competitive down the stretch of the season.

Cousins has since departed the franchise, signing with the Falcons in free agency. Adofo-Mensah, meanwhile, got busy this offseason, inking veterans Aaron Jones, Sam Arnold and Jonathan Greenard to free-agent deals. And, he also added former Michigan passer J.J. McCarthy and ex-Crimson Tide EDGE Dallas Turner in the first round of this past April's draft. 

The Vikings are clearly in more of a rebuild than win-now mode, and likely will be the weakest link in the NFC North this upcoming season. However, at least Adofo-Mensah has given the Vikes a fighter’s chance to be competitive on a weekly basis with his collection of offseason moves.

2.) Brian Gutekunst, Packers

If not for Brad Holmes, Gutekunst would've more than easily been my selection as the top general manager in the NFC North. 

The Green Bay front-office executive has conducted a masterclass in constructing a roster built for sustained success. 

Since being promoted to the role of general manager in 2018, the Packers have won three NFC North division crowns (2019-2021), and have made four trips to the playoffs.

Perhaps most impressively, he's put together a Green Bay team capable of winning in the post-Aaron Rodgers era. Jordan Love, whom he selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, led the Packers to a wild-card playoff appearance and a postseason win in the organization's first season without Rodgers as the starter under center since 2007 (when Brett Favre was still the team's starting QB). 

Going into the 2024 campaign, the Packers appear to have the most legitimate chance to dethrone the Lions as NFC North champs. Kudos to Gutekunst for that being the case.

1.) Brad Holmes, Lions 

Along with head coach Dan Campbell, Holmes has done a super commendable job of revamping the Lions’ culture and transforming the organization into a winner. 

Since taking over as the team's GM in 2021, he's nailed draft after draft, most notably selecting a pair of All-Pros in ‘21 (OT Penei Sewell and WR Amon-Ra St. Brown). Through his exemplary roster-building efforts, Detroit has gone from a 3-13-1 team in ‘21 to a 12-5 squad that was on the cusp of making the Super Bowl a season ago.

The fourth-year Lions front-office executive has more than earned his status as the top general manager in the NFC North.

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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.