Detroit and HBCU Alum Brad Holmes named first Black NFL Executive of the Year

While the Detroit Lions lost recently to the San Francisco 49ers in surprising fashion, it doesn’t detract from the architect who put the team together that came within 30 minutes of going to this year’s Super Bowl.  However, just before the NFC Championship Game in San Francisco, Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Brad Holmes was named the 2023 NFL Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).  With Holmes winning PFWA’s Executive of the Year award, he becomes the first executive in Detroit Lions history to do so, the first African American winner, and the first HBCU graduate to garner the honor.

In January 2021, the Lions hired Holmes as their executive vice president and general manager.  His first major move was to trade longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford to the L.A. Rams for QB Jared Goff and choice draft picks.  Ensuing moves by Holmes included drafting impact players like wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (2021), offensive tackle Penei Sewell (2021), defensive lineman Alim McNeill (2021), defensive edge Aidan Hutchinson (2022), wide receiver Jameson Williams (2022) defensive lineman James Houston (2022), running back Jahmyr Gibbs (2023), linebacker Jack Campbell (2023), tight end Sam LaPorta (2023), defensive back Brian Branch (2023), and other key players.

Holmes also engineered key free agent signings, which included defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson, cornerback Cam Sutton, cornerback Emmanuel Mosely, running back David Montgomery, and offensive lineman Graham Glasgow.

A native of Tampa, Florida, Holmes attended and played college football at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, where he played for four years at the HBCU as a defensive tackle.  After graduating from A&T, Holmes worked in public relations as an intern with the NBA Atlanta Hawks and later with the NFL St. Louis Rams.  For the St. Louis Rams/Los Angeles Rams, Holmes held such positions as scout, national Combine scout, and scouting assistant.  Known for his great eye for college talent, in 2013, Holmes was elevated to director of college scouting, where he had key roles in bringing such players as Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald to the L.A. Rams.

Why was Holmes chosen as NFL Executive of the Year?

“Holmes directed the Lions return to a division title and the NFC’s No. 3 seed in 2023,” the Pro Football Writers of America said in a statement.  “Detroit was 12-5 this season, which tied for the most victories in a season in Lions history.  The Lions were 6 – 3 on the road, tying a franchise road victory record, and the club did not lose consecutive games the entire season for the first time since 1962.”

 

 

 

 

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