Lions among teams that had best all-around draft

Michael Smith and Michael Holley discuss which NFL teams set themselves up well for the 2023 season in the NFL Draft, including the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles.

Video Transcript

- Ah [BLEEP] man, I've been waiting all day. I've been waiting all day. What do you mean, how I feel?

- Did you have any idea that the Seahawks were interested in you before getting that call?

- Never. I always heard it was gonna be some team that you never really talked to that much like that but you at least suspect. But man, I talked to them before, but I wasn't expecting them, to be honest. Come on, let's do it!

- Who's with you to enjoy this moment? Who's around you?

- Man, I'm a tell you what. I think it might have something to do with just being a dad, getting older. But I'm mad in touch with my emotions these days.

I had to watch day three of the draft with Kleenex. I mean, between that, between the Kenny McIntosh call after being drafted in the seventh round by the Seahawks, and the Cowboys drafting their scout's son, one of their scouts' son, Deuce Vaughn out of Kansas City-- out of Kansas State, I beg your pardon. Like, I was an emotional wreck.

Watching these kids dream come true is why-- I often say that the draft, the NFL draft, is my favorite sporting event of the year. And day three of the draft is my favorite day of the draft and therefore my favorite sporting day because of stories like this. I mean I'm-- in all my years of watching the draft, I've never seen a moment this touching than Chris Vaughn calling his son saying--

Oh, man.

--want to come to work with me? Like, that was the best thing I've ever seen in watched the draft my entire life. And again, maybe it's the dad in me and in you that was touched.

But having said all that, aside from Chris and Deuce Vaughn, aside from Kenny McIntosh, who, by the way, if he runs with the passion that he had on that phone call, then man, do the Seahawks have quite the backfield committee with Zach Charbonnet, Kenny McIntosh, and, of course, Kenneth Walker III. You mentioned this the other day. I gave a shout out to all the bird mascots-- Seahawks, Eagles, of course, Falcons, Cardinals.

I'm sure I'm missing some bird. But the Seahawks may have-- like, talk about a tough act to follow from last year's draft? They may have just succeeded in doing so. Like, they absolutely crushed the draft top to bottom. Who else did you like from--

- No, I mean--

- --the rest of the week, from day two and day three.

- Yeah, I mean, they crushed it. I think they crushed it this year. We have to say we think because we haven't seen these guys play.

But they certainly did. Last year-- you know, they get Cross, their tackle. You mentioned Walker III.

They got him in the draft. They got Tariq Woolen in the draft. I mean, they really were able to address a lot of needs in the 2022. Then 2023, picking up Devin Witherspoon, was my favorite corner, and then Jackson Smith-Njigba at number 20 to put it inside, and then Macintosh, you know, that story is great. But you know who I also like?

- Mike Morris all the way [INAUDIBLE] center. I know you don't even like Wolverines, but still. Like--

- No, that's fine.

- They've got some dues late in the draft, which is where--

- I like

- --to make your money as late.

- You know when I really like Wolverines? I like Wolverines when you are able to get them out of Ann Arbor. I like them a lot when they're not in Ann Arbor. I love them when they go to the pros.

- Yeah.

- But I'm going to say-- and I saw you have in your feed. Maybe we agree on this. I like what the Lions did. Now, at first--

- That's what I'm saying.

- --OK--

- That's why you got to wait. That's why you got to wait for-- not just for-- and nobody waits a couple of years to grade drafts. We don't do that. We're too impatient. But at least wait until Sunday to get the full picture.

- So they start off with two Alabama guys and two Iowa guys. And then they add-- you know, and the Alabama guy, the guy that I liked the most, was not even Gibbs.

- Was not Gibbs?

- It's Brian Branch.

- Yeah.

- Brian Branch.

- Yeah.

- I thought-- I mean, I was watching him.

- I love what he's able to do. He is such a modern player.

You look at the way the game is played. Like, Mike, when you were growing up in New Orleans watching the dome patrol, there was no such thing, really, as a slot corner. Like, there's no slot corner.

Nobody's doing that. He is a slot corner safety. I mean, that's what he is. That's exactly what he did in the SEC.

- He's got incredible versatility.

- There are going to be more guys like him coming up. Last year, name skips my right now, the Bengals drafted a similar player in the first round last year out of Michigan.

- --Michigan, yeah.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- Same thing. I think there are going to be a lot more of those guys. But I like Detroit.

And it's more of the vision of Detroit than the players. I mean, the players are going to-- you know, the players might turn out to be pretty good. But for the first time in a long time, you can see it.

You can see the connection between Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell, what they want to do. They know exact-- they have a vision. The Lions have a vision, and they are out there. They've got a plan, and they're executing it. I'm excited about our team here, the team of-- the official team of brother from another.

- So, let's take Jahmyr-- let's start with Jahmyr Gibbs real quick, and then I move off the lines. But it's like, I think it was like, oh, they took a running back. Jahmyr Gibbs is a weapon.

Like, I mean, his position-- it's almost like its positionless basketball. It's positionless football now. You saw it a lot with what teams were doing in terms of some of the edge guys.

I mean, it wasn't that long ago when somebody invented the term edge. But some of the defensive linemen and front seven guys-- you mentioned Brian Branch. Like, there's a lot more positionless play in the NFL in terms of defense but even on offense.

So, while Jahmyr Gibbs may be categorized as a running back, he's much more of a weapon than that, which is why they were so excited-- Jack Campbell but we were talking on Friday how, like, it was a throwback draft because you're taking a running back, quote unquote, and an off the ball linebacker. Listen, you cannot go wrong taking Iowa tight ends.

Love the Sam LaPorta pick. You mentioned Brian [INAUDIBLE]. The last person I'll shout out is Hendon Hooker.

They get Hendon Hooker in the third round. He was some people's third, if not better, overall quarterback. Speaking of quarterbacks, I do want to pivot, though, to Green Bay because you want to talk about a love language.

How about the receiving gifts that the Packers gave Jordan Love. I mean they just kept hitting. And I know it's been a running thing in Green Bay.

Brett Favre never got a first round receiver other than, I think, Javon Walker. Aaron Rodgers never got a first round receiver. But they usually hit on second, third, fourth round type guys.

They went and got him two tight ends and, I think, three receivers in the draft. I mean, yeah. They just kept giving them more and more help and setting him up to succeed, which was a theme across the NFL. Look at a guy like Desmond Ridder in Atlanta. It's like, either you drafted a quarterback and/or you set that quarterback up for success with some of your other picks.

- Yeah, I mean, you know, I think-- I like what Green Bay did. And nobody's going to say this. I just have this sneaking suspicion in Green Bay they're relieved.

As enthusiastic, as exhilarated as the Jets are to have Aaron Rodgers, there's a sense of relief of just doing something without Aaron Rodgers. Now, you can feel-- it's easy to feel that way at the end of April and the beginning of May. OK--

- Right, [INAUDIBLE] being played.

- He no longer has a hold on this franchise. We're excited to see Jordan Love play. That's why we drafted him in the first round.

We love his ability. Blah, blah, blah. He's easy to work with.

Great teammate, very collegial. We'll see what happens. But they can actually build the team without spending a draft--

- Without somebody bitching and complaining?

- --somebody running back, be like, hey, what did you think?

- Right.

- What did you think?

- Right.

- They--

- Right.

- Was that against you? Was that personal?

- Right.

- I like what they're doing. I know what--

- Is a window closing? Is there-- you know, why did they give him somebody to help win now? They never done it-- like, stop. Stop.

- Yeah.

- Like, they could just build a team.

- This is what they're doing.

- --drama.

- They're doing-- this is-- they're putting together-- they've been consistent too. They're putting together the tenets of a McVay offense. McVay offense, you've got to be able to run the ball, play action, take advantage of-- at times take advantage of the middle of the field, take some shots. And they've got all those elements in place where they can do that with Jordan Love.

- But last but not least, is everybody in the NFC playing for second? I mean, at least as we sit here now. Obviously, there ain't no games being played.

You certainly don't play them on paper, and they don't give out trophies for the off-season Super Bowl. But the Philadelphia Eagle Dogs or Bull Eagles or whatever the hell they want to call themselves with this Athens to Philadelphia pipeline they got going, I mean, it's beyond impressive, and it's unfair. You know, like, speaking of Detroit, Detroit moves on from DeAndre swift, oh, because Philadelphia really needed another threat on offense, right?

They really lacked for weapons, and they lacked for running backs. And the running back room was really starving for a former second round pick who, when healthy, is dynamic. But like, we talked on Friday about Carter and Smith. Then they go and get Steen, the offensive lineman from Alabama. Speaking of tear jerking moments, Chase Brown going to Cincinnati after his brother Sydney Brown went to Philadelphia-- they get Ringo in the fourth frickin' round.

- In the fourth round. That's a good pick.

- I mean, they just--

- That's a really good one.

- They pick players before they have to, man. You know, there's like, damn need. We're picking good players, and they just so all happened to come from Athens. Yeah, the Eagles are not trying to lose their grip on the NFC any time soon. Last word to you, man, before we take this next break

- I just, yeah, we'll take this break, put the music on. I'm just going to just restate what I said on Friday. Philadelphia Eagles got the best player in the draft at number nine. And then they got his teammate at number 30.

And you told me. Remember, you came back from the combine. You were like, the guy's going to be Nolan Smith.

Nolan Smith is going to be the guy that teams are going to want. That's going to be somebody ambassador. That's somebody man of the year. And the Eagles have both of them. Crazy.