Mediocrity: What Detroit Lions Fans Should Expect From Drafted Quarterbacks
If there is no other reason for the Detroit Lions to not select a quarterback in this year's draft, they must only look back on their past draft failures.
Whether the Lions select Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, or any other quarterback, fans can be guaranteed of one thing—they probably will not be very good as professionals.
Since 1979, the Lions have drafted 11 quarterbacks, none of which have gone on to achieve any stardom in the NFL.
Some had successful careers as backups elsewhere, but it seems that any quarterback drafted by the Lions is destined to fail in Motown.
This list includes first-rounders in Chuck Long, Andre Ware, and Joey Harrington, but also includes no-names like Jeff Komlo and Mike Machurek.
So what exactly does a quarterback drafted by the Lions have to live up to?
1979—Jeff Komlo, Delaware (ninth round)
Hailing from Delaware, Jeff Komlo led the Blue Hens to a second-place finish in the 1978 NCAA Division II playoffs.
A ninth-round draft pick of the Lions, Komlo would go on to play in all 16 games as a rookie in 1979, starting 14 of them.
He appeared in only four games the following year, and by the end of 1983, he was out of the NFL, after briefly playing in two games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In his four-year career, Komlo threw for 2,603 yards, 12 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He posted a 2-14 record as a starter.
According to the America's Most Wanted Web site, he currently is wanted on two separate counts of drunken driving and also for questioning regarding arson of his homes.
1980—Eric Hipple, Utah State (fourth round)
Eric Hipple was a solid, but not spectacular quarterback.
He spent nine seasons with the Lions throughout most of the 1980s, making him one of the team's longest-tenured quarterbacks since 1979.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 1980 NFL Draft, Hipple would go on to start 57 games for Detroit, winning 28 of them.
In his career, Hipple passed for 10,711 yards, 55 touchdowns and 70 interceptions.
Following the suicide of his 15-year-old son in 2000, Hipple has become an advocate for better education about depression.
1982—Mike Machurek, Idaho State (sixth round)
There is really not much to say about Mike Machurek.
A sixth-round pick in 1982, Machurek would not see the field until 1984.
He probably was better off staying on the sidelines.
In four NFL games, Machurek completed only 14 of his 43 pass attempts and threw an astounding six interceptions. His career passer rating is an anemic 8.3.
1986—Chuck Long, Iowa (first round)
Chuck Long is the first of three major first-round quarterback busts by the Lions.
The College Football Hall of Fame lists Long as being the first college quarterback to eclipse 10,000 career passing yards.
As the 12th overall pick in the 1986 draft, Long never had the same kind of success in the NFL.
He would spend four years in Detroit, appearing in a total of 23 games. For his career, he threw for 3,747 yards, 19 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.
Long most recently was the head football coach at San Diego State University, but he was fired after going 9-27 in three season there.
1989—Rodney Peete, USC (sixth round)
Another example of a successful college quarterback, Rodney Peete would leave USC as the school's all-time leader in pass attempts (1,081), completions (630), and passing yards (8,225).
Taken with the 141st pick in the 1989 draft, Peete spent his first five NFL seasons in Detroit, never starting more than 10 games in a season.
Peete bounced around primarily as a backup for the rest of his career. In 2002 he started 14 games for the Carolina Panthers, his last significant playing time in the NFL.
In 16 NFL seasons, Peete totaled 16,338 passing yards, 76 touchdowns, and 92 interceptions.
He currently hosts a satellite radio show called "Meet the Peetes" on Oprah Winfrey's XM Radio channel.
1990—Andre Ware, Houston (first round)
The second of the Lions' first-round quarterback busts, Andre Ware never lived up to his NFL hype. Or his CFL hype, for that matter.
Ware, the seventh overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft, was listed as one of Sport Illustrated's top draft busts of the modern era.
As a pro, Ware never came close to his record-setting college career. In fact, he only played in 14 games as a Lion, completing just 83 passes.
He is currently a radio analyst for the Houston Texans.
1998—Charlie Batch, Eastern Michigan (second round)
The Lions waited eight years to select another quarterback after the failure of Andre Ware, but it did not take them long to find their bad habit again with Charlie Batch.
Batch replaced Scott Mitchell as the Lions' starter as a rookie and would go on to hold that position until after the 2001, season when he was released.
Injuries plagued Batch during his time in Detroit. In 1999 he would miss the only playoff game Detroit has appeared in since 1998 due to a thumb injury.
He passed for over 9,000 yards as a Lion, good enough for sixth on their all-time passing yards list.
Batch has since won two Super Bowl rings as a backup for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
2001—Mike McMahon, Rutgers (fifth round)
Mike McMahon was the first-ever Rutgers' quarterback drafted when the Lions used their fifth-round pick on him in 2001.
McMahon's reckless style suited the terrible Lions teams that he was a part of. He spent four seasons in Detroit, mostly as a backup, but did see some action as a starter during his time.
Following his career in Motown, McMahon spent a season each as a backup in Philadelphia and Minnesota. He started seven games for the Eagles in 2005, posting a 2-5 record while filling in for the injured Donovan McNabb.
He is currently out of football, having most recently been released by the Montréal Alouettes of the CFL.
2002—Joey Harrington, Oregon (first round)
Joey Harrington may be better remembered by Lions fans for his piano talent rather than his football skills.
After a successful collegiate career at Oregon, Detroit used the third overall pick in the 2002 draft on Harrington.
Harrington was thrust into the starting role early in his rookie season. He finished his first year with 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, as the Lions went 3-13.
After several unsuccessful seasons in Detroit, the Lions unloaded Harrington in a trade with the Miami Dolphins for a draft pick. He has since played for the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints, where he spent last year as the third-string quarterback.
Harrington posted an 18-37 record in 55 starts for the Lions.
2005—Dan Orlovsky, Connecticut (fifth round)
A fifth-round pick from Connecticut, Dan Orlovsky was stuck on the bench for the early part of his Lions career.
When he finally got off of it, he was anything but spectacular.
During his first career start this past November against the Minnesota Vikings, Orlovsky inadvertently ran out of the back of his own end zone for a safety.
A broken thumb forced Orlovsky to miss some time in 2008, but he started seven games for the win-less Lions.
For his career, Orlovsky has completed 55.1 percent of his passes for 1,679 yards and eight touchdowns.
He enters the 2009 season as one of the quarterbacks vying for the starting job in Detroit.
2007—Drew Stanton, Michigan State (second round)
It is probably too early to call Drew Stanton's Lions career a loss, but history is definitely not on his side.
The Michigan State product spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury during preseason.
In 2008, Stanton moved into the second quarterback role after Jon Kitna was placed on injured reserve, and saw his first NFL action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during week 10 of the season. He completed a touchdown pass on his first career passing attempt.
In three career games, Stanton has passed for 119 yards and one touchdown.
Like Orlovsky, Stanton enters the 2009 season competing for the Lions starting quarterback position.