The Detroit Lions’ draft historical past is filled with highs and lows. They have a protracted listing of nice picks and maybe a extra notorious historical past of draft busts in Round 1.
Let’s check out the 5 greatest first-round picks and 5 worst first-round picks in franchise historical past. (We’re bearing in mind solely their profession with the Lions, draft place, and dominance over longevity.)
Best draft picks
2010: DT Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh with the Lions.
The choose: No. 2 total, Nebraska.
The buzz: Spent his five-year rookie contract with the Lions, serving to them snap an 11-year playoff drought in 2011. Dominant participant up entrance as each a run stopper and cross rush menace, the important thing within the crew’s defensive turnaround in 2014. Defensive Rookie of the Year, and made 4 All-Pro groups and 4 Pro Bowls. Had 36 sacks in his 5 seasons in Detroit, taking part in in 78 of 80 regular-season video games, earlier than leaving for Miami in 2015.
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2007: WR Calvin Johnson
The choose: No. 2 total, Georgia Tech.
The buzz: The Hall of Famer spent his whole nine-year profession with the Lions, catching 83 touchdowns as one of the vital dominant gamers this century at any place. Set the NFL single-season receiving report of 1,964 yards in 2012. Averaged 86.1 receiving yards per sport for his profession. Made 4 All-Pro groups and 6 Pro Bowls and helped the Lions attain the playoffs in 2011 and 2014.
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1991: WR Herman Moore
The choose: No. 10 total, Virginia.
The buzz: Three consecutive first-team All-Pro appearances from 1995-97 and 4 Pro Bowls, gaining at the very least 900 receiving yards in seven straight seasons. Led NFL in catches with 123 in 1995 and 104 in 1997. Big-play receiver caught 62 touchdowns in 11 seasons with the Lions.
1989: RB Barry Sanders
The choose: No. 3 total, Oklahoma State.
The buzz: Hall of Famer, 1997 NFL MVP, Offensive Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Pro and a Pro-Bowler in all 10 NFL seasons, all with the Lions. Was the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner. Ran for two,053 yards in 1997, second-most in a season on the time. Scored 99 dashing touchdowns and 10 receiving. His astonishing landing vs. Dallas within the 1991 playoffs helped the Lions to their first (and solely) playoff win for the reason that 1957 championship. Missed simply seven video games, taking part in in 153 and dashing for 15,269 yards, nonetheless fourth all-time. Stunned the town on the eve of 1999’s coaching camp together with his retirement fax and escape to London.
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1958: DT Alex Karras
The choose: No. 10 total, Iowa
The buzz: Made an All-Pro crew eight occasions, spent his whole 12-year profession with the Lions. Suspended for the 1963 season for playing, returned in 1964 and had 13 sacks and career-best 15 sacks in 1965. Finished with 100 sacks for his profession (albeit unofficially, as sacks weren’t acknowledged by the NFL till 1982). Starred in motion pictures (“Blazing Saddles”) and TV (“Webster”) after his NFL profession was over. Died in 2012 at age 77. Belatedly inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020 as a part of its Centennial Class. “I by no means needed to work myself up for a sport,” he mentioned. “I hated everyone, even my teammates, I by no means talked to anyone.”
Five honorable mentions: QB Matthew Stafford (No. 1 total, 2009), WR Johnnie Morton (No. 21 total, 1994), DE Robert Porcher (DE, No. 26 total, 1992), OT Lomas Brown (OT, No. 6 total, 1985), RB Billy Sims (No. 1 total, 1980).
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Worst draft picks
2005: WR Mike Williams
Mike Williams with the Lions.
The choose: No. 10 total, Southern California.
The buzz: General supervisor Matt Millen took a first-round swing on a large receiver for the third straight 12 months. Williams, sporting nice measurement at 6 ft 5, dominated with 30 TDs in two seasons at USC, however was pressured to sit down out the 2004 faculty season after declaring for the 2004 draft earlier than finally being dominated ineligible in courtroom. Fined six figures as a rookie by the crew for being obese over the course of his rookie 12 months. Had 29 catches for 350 yards and a rating as a rookie, however restricted to eight catches in eight video games the following 12 months. Was traded with QB Josh McCown on the 2007 draft to Oakland for a fourth-round choose.
2003: WR Charles Rogers
Charles Rogers holds up a Detroit Lions jersey after being chosen second total within the 2003 NFL draft.
The choose: No. 2 total, Michigan State.
The buzz: Injuries, marijuana and a painkiller dependancy derailed a promising native star. Rogers was a Saginaw and Michigan State standout, however performed in simply 15 NFL video games over three seasons. Recorded 22 catches for 243 yards as a rookie with three scores in 5 video games, then broke his collarbone in observe. Again broke his collarbone within the opener in 2004, lacking the season, and the devastation from the damage modified him. Suspended for 4 video games in 2005 for a 3rd violation of the league’s substance abuse coverage. Released earlier than the 2006 opener. Died at 38 in 2019 of liver failure.
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2002: QB Joey Harrington
Lions president and chief govt officer Matt Millen, left, and coach Marty Mornhinweg, proper, pose with the crew’s first-round draft choose, Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, Sunday, April 21, 2002, on the Lions observe facility in Allen Park.
The choose: No. 3 total, Oregon.
The buzz: The Heisman Trophy finalist led Oregon to an 11-1 report and convention title as a senior. Signed a six-year, $36.5 million take care of the Lions, however the crew went 18-37 with him as its starter over 4 seasons. He led the NFL with 22 interceptions in 2003, and threw 60 touchdowns to 62 picks with a 54.7% completion share over his profession. He held a 68.1 passer ranking in 58 video games for Detroit. Got his want and was traded to Miami in 2006 for an eventual 2007 fifth-round choose, and shortly after returned to beat the Lions on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. “The confidence I had that was brimming once I left Oregon was utterly gone once I left Detroit,” he advised the Free Press in 2020. “It created an entire lot of points for me that went past efficiency. … In the top, issues didn’t go nicely and I do know the followers have been annoyed.“
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1990: QB Andre Ware
The choose: No. 7 total, Houston.
The buzz: Appeared in 14 video games with six begins in his Lions profession over 4 seasons, and by no means performed within the NFL once more. Won the 1989 Heisman Trophy at Houston within the run-and-shoot offense, however his draft inventory was polarizing. When Lions head coach Wayne Fontes overrode the the crew’s scouting director to draft Ware, the latter resigned the following day. “I imagine this man, given a while, goes to take the Lions to the Super Bowl,” Fontes mentioned. Never gained the beginning job from Rodney Peete or Erik Kramer, filling in as a backup on account of damage. Completed 83 of 161 passes with 5 scores and eight interceptions, and rushed for 217 yards on 38 makes an attempt (5.7 yards per carry).
1987: DE Reggie Rogers
The choose: No. 7 total, Washington.
The buzz: Limited to 11 video games in two seasons with the Lions, accumulating one sack. Barely made it a month into his first season earlier than getting into a counseling middle. It received worse the following 12 months: In October, he ran a cease signal and his automobile struck one other automobile, killing three youngsters. His blood alcohol content material was later discovered nicely over the authorized restrict. He was waived the following summer time as a result of he broke his neck within the collision, and in 1990 was convicted of vehicular murder and spent 13 months in jail. Played in 4 video games with two groups in 1991-92. Died in 2013 at 49, with an post-mortem revealing cocaine and alcohol intoxication.
Five honorable mentions: CB Jeff Okudah (No. 3 total, 2020), OG Laken Tomlinson (No. 28 total, 2015), RB Jahvid Best (No. 30 total, 2010), QB Chuck Long (No. 12 total, 1986), RB Lawrence Gaines (No. 16 total, 1976).
This article initially appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions draft picks historical past: Best and worst first-rounders