Brad Holmes before trading for Trinity Benson: "Who the hell is Trinity Benson?"


Brad Holmes has enough to handle internally. The GM of the Lions isn't paid to watch other teams, certainly not at this time of year. He has his own roster to evaluate, which is why he has a scouting department to assess the rest of the league. As the Lions approached final cut day, Holmes' director of pro scouting Rob Lohman approached him and asked, "You seen this Denver receiver?"

The Lions started training camp with a need at receiver, and ended it with a bigger one. After cutting Breshad Perriman, the presumptive No. 2 who signed for $2 million guaranteed, the club was left with one receiver with a track record of NFL success: Tyrell Williams. (And Williams hasn't taken a snap since 2019.) Toward the end of camp, Holmes and his staff started stacking receivers across the league they deemed candidates for the waiver wire.

So Lohman asked Holmes about the receiver from Denver, and Holmes asked who.

"Trinity Benson," said Lohman.

"And I had the same response as probably everybody else," Holmes said Thursday. "I said, 'Who the hell is Trinity Benson?'"

Trinity Benson was the speedster on the Broncos who scored two touchdowns in their preseason opener. Who had another strong performance in the finale. Who probably wasn't going to crack Denver's roster in a crowded receivers room -- and who immediately grabbed Holmes' eye.

"When I first watched the tape I was like, wow. He just popped off," said Holmes. "He had juice, he had explosiveness, his upside as a route-runner gets you really excited for a young guy. And then the more work we did from an intangible standpoint, he’s a tough kid that’s a hard worker, he’s smart, does things the right way."

The Lions went back to their board of available receivers. They kept stacking them and Holmes said Benson "kept rising as No. 1." And not just in the eyes of Holmes and Lohman. In addition to "the rest of the (player) personnel department," Holmes said wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El watched Benson's film and agreed, "He's the top guy." Same for Dan Campbell.

"So that's when I called George," said Holmes, referring to Broncos GM George Paton.

On Tuesday morning, with the deadline to submit their 53-man roster looming that afternoon, the Lions acquired Benson (and a future sixth-round pick) from Denver for a fifth-rounder and a seventh-rounder in 2022. Holmes acknowledges the Lions could have waited and potentially claimed Benson off waivers to save a couple picks, but they didn't like the risk of losing him to another team.

"We just felt that confident about him, where, 'Look, let’s just get him,'" said Holmes. "He’s got a bright future, he’s got a lot of upside, he’s young. Maybe you can sit back and wait and put in a claim and see if you get lucky, but no, we felt confident enough to say, let’s just see if we can make something happen and go get him."

Who the hell is Trinity Benson?

We're about to find out.

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