Who Wears the Crown? Who Is the Best Player for the Detroit Lions Right Now?

Eric VincentCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:   Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Dating back to the Matt Millen era, the Detroit Lions kept striking out with their top draft picks. The Motor City football franchise was lost for years thanks to rosters of questionable talent.

Drafting players like quarterback Joey Harrington and receivers Mike Williams and Charles Rogers never panned out, and the Lions ultimately became an all-time bust by going 0-16 in 2008. 

However, a broken clock is right twice a day. Millen luckily struck gold in 2007, finding a rare talent out of Georgia Tech. Hoping to boost the skill positions on offense, the Lions drafted another wide receiver after selecting three first-round receivers from 2004 to 2006. 

It's safe to say that selection paid off, as today Calvin Johnson has become the face of the Detroit Lions' franchise.

Nicknamed "Megatron" by old teammate Roy Williams, Johnson has certainly lived up to the hype. The 6-5 240-pound wideout was turning heads in college with his video game-esque highlight reel. Those college highlights certainly have translated to the professional level.

Megatron has made a living terrorizing secondaries in the NFL. Johnson has the size of a tight end plus the speed of a track star. Blessed with impressive hands, a great work ethic and a team-player attitude, Johnson is the ideal superstar to have.

The Lions drafted him as a potential star of the team. But after signing his monster contract this offseason, he's become the cornerstone of the franchise. 

Johnson hasn't been dominating the league his entire career though. Megatron had seasons with plenty of yards, and not enough catches. In 2008, Johnson totaled 1,331 yards but only 78 catches and games where he rarely was targeted. 

Johnson showed the NFL what he's truly capable of last season, catching 96 passes for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Lions made Johnson the focal point of the offense, and it paid off as the Lions made the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

The Lions have put some impressive players around Johnson, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, tackle Ndamukong Suh and linebacker Stephen Tulloch. Each are one of the best at their position, but they haven't dominated in the fashion of Calvin Johnson. 

Suh and Stafford each have had a year of dominance. Suh exploded his rookie season with ten sacks in his rookie season, and Stafford lit up scoreboards throwing for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns last year. Stephen Tulloch also has been a model of stability with the Lions.

But none of them have stood out and separated themselves the way Johnson has. 

Johnson has grown and blossomed with Stafford under center, but the level of talent and consistency is immeasurable. Megatron has dealt with five different quarterbacks in his career, but it doesn't matter. No matter what quarterback is throwing him the ball, Johnson will find a way to make a play.

Megatron started his career with the Lions exclusively as a deep threat option. Since last season, Johnson has improved his route running, blocking, and ability to line up in the slot or on the outside. At 26 years old, he's arguably the best receiver in the NFL and could potentially become the best wideout of all time.

The sky is the limit for Calvin Johnson. He's not only the best receiver in the game, but is slowly becoming one of the best overall football players in the game. No matter what kind of coverage is thrown his way, Johnson finds a way to get open and catch the ball. You won't find many players of this caliber for many years to come.