So, let’s break down the five best draft picks in Lions history.
One interesting thing about all the best draft picks for Lions is that they were higher draft picks.
A lot of teams have some of their best players come in the late rounds, but four of the five players on the list were selected in the top ten, and the other was a second-round pick.
5. Jason Hanson (1992, Round 2, Pick 56)
Taking a kicker in the second round might not seem like the smartest idea, but it worked out well for the Lions.
Jason Hanson set every team kicking record and set the NFL record for most games played with one team. Even though the Lions didn’t always have the best offense when he was a part of the team, they knew when he lined up to kick it, he is was going to be Mr. Consistent.
After the 2012 season, Hanson hung up the cleats and was later inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.
4. Herman Moore (1991, Round 1, Pick 10)
Herman Moore was the best wide receiver in the team’s history until Calvin Johnson came along.
Moore was selected 10th overall in the 1991 NFL Draft by the Lions. Moore played through the 2001 season with the Lions before moving onto the New York Giants, but he only played one game with them.
When he retired he had the team record for career receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns with 9,174 yards and 62 touchdowns.
3. Calvin Johnson, 2007, Round 1, Pick 2
Calvin Johnson would be higher on this list if he wouldn’t have hung up the cleats during his prime.
Johnson had at least 756 yards in each of his seasons with the Lions, and the lowest total was during his rookie season. Johnson’s best season in terms of yards was in 2013 when he caught 122 passes for 1,964 yards.
After the 2015 season, he shocked everyone when he decided to hang up the cleats.
2. Matthew Stafford (2009, Round 1, Pick 1)
Matthew Stafford was selected with the first overall pick during the 2019 NFL Draft, and he is the best quarterback in team history.
The team hasn’t always surrounded him with the most talent, but there has been no questioning about how good of a quarterback he is. Stafford’s best season came in 2011 when he threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Maybe soon the team will surround him with more talent before he hangs up the cleats.
1. Barry Sanders (1989, Round 1, Pick 3)
Barry Sanders was selected third overall in the 1989 draft and is one of the best running backs in NFL history.
Sanders was named to the All-Pro team 10 times and was the 1997 NFL MVP. Sanders finished his rushing career putting up 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns. His best season was in 1997 when he rushed 335 times for 2053 yards and 11 touchdowns. During the 1991 season, Sanders put up 16 touchdowns.
Sanders also shocked many people when he hung up the cleats after the 1998 season.