The 15 Greatest Draft Picks of the Last 25 Years: Detroit Lions
Let's face it, the Detroit Lions are one of the worst franchises in the NFL. They have been for some time. Over the last 25 years, they have made some head-scratching decisions in the NFL Draft. While these decisions have frustrated the Lions' faithful, there have been some picks that have paid off.
I have compiled a list of the 15 best picks of the last 25 years. This list will move chronologically, from the oldest to the most recent. Feel free to comment on any omissions or additions that you would like to see.
Hopefully I will be able to add a few names to this list, come the end of April!
Lomas Brown, T, Florida
With the sixth pick in the 1985 draft, the Lions drafted possibly the best Tackle in Lions history. He was a force on the offensive line for 10 years, opening holes for one Barry Sanders.
Jerry Ball, DT, SMU
Weighing in at 330 lbs., Ball was the prototypical run-stuffer in the middle. The three-time Pro Bowler was a steal as the 63rd pick in the third round in 1987.
Chris Spielman, LB, Ohio State
The greatest middle linebacker in Lions history, Spielman was a tackling machine. Drafted in the second round with the 29th pick in 1988, Spielman graced the turf of the SilverDome for eight years and played in four Pro Bowls. Plus, he is great as a college football announcer.
Ray Crockett, DB, Baylor
Drafted in the fourth round with the 86th pick, Crockett proved to be a lock down corner. While he only spent five seasons in Detroit, he made an impact with 18 interceptions.
Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State
Ok, so this one is kind of obvious, but hey, Green Bay took Tony Mandarich the pick before. I bet they wish they could have done that one over...
Herman Moore, WR, Virginia
The Lions' recent propensity for choosing a wide receiver in the first round dates back to the 1991 draft, when Herman Moore was selected in the first round with the 10th pick. Moore was a four time Pro Bowler and thrived as a wide out without a decent quarterback.
Robert Porcher, DE, South Carolina State
Porcher was far and beyond the greatest defensive end in Lions history. Taken with the 26th pick in the first round of the 1992 draft, Porcher was a force on defense. He is the Lions all-time sacks leader with 95.5 in his 12 year career.
Jason Hanson, K, Washington State
Drafted in the second round with the 56th pick in the 1992 draft, Hanson has provided stability and consistency as their kicker for the past 17 years. He shows no signs of slowing down, connecting on 21 of 22 attempts in 2008.
Cory Schlesinger, FB, Nebraska
Taken with the 192nd pick in the sixth round in 1995, Schlesinger provided toughness and intensity combined with devastating blocking ability. This guy played a game with a broken neck!
Stephen Boyd, LB, Boston College
Boyd isn't going to be a Hall of Famer, but for a short period of time, he was a dominating linebacker. Picked in the fifth round with the 141st pick in the 1995 draft, Boyd would be considered a steal.
Dominic Raiola, C, Nebraska
When he isn't threatening to fight us fans, Raiola has been a great center for nearly a decade. The 50th pick in the second round of the 2001 draft, Raiola has proven to be a solid force on a less than average offensive line.
Shaun Rogers, DT, Texas
Taken in the second round with the 61st pick of the 2001 draft, Rogers will forever be a guy who never played as well as his talent allowed. He battled weight problems and eventually ate his way out of town. But when he was at his best, he was arguably the best DT in the game.
Cory Redding, DT, Texas
Taken in the third round with the 66th pick in the 2003 draft, Redding played well beyond expectations. He signed a huge contract and ultimately couldn't live up to the money he was getting paid. He was recently dealt to the Seahawks for Julian Peterson.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Megatron was the second pick of the 2007 draft, and he could go down as the best receiver ever to play some day. This guy has freakish ability to catch the ball in traffic and make the spectacular catch. When he gets a good quarterback throwing to him, look out!
Kevin Smith, RB, Central Florida
With the 64th pick in the third round of the 2008 draft, the Lions drafted Smith, a great college running back who transitioned from college to the pros with ease. He isn't flashy, but he is steady and can be a guy who carries the ball 20 times a game and gains 1,200 yards a season.