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Detroit Lions - Best Number One Pick for Every Team in NFL Draft History

In 2009 the Detroit Lions drafted Matthew Stafford out of the University of Georgia in the first round. In 2021, Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for another team’s #1, Jared Goff. The year before Stafford came aboard, Detroit’s number one pick in the first-round was Ndamukong Suh who has bounced around several teams since. The Lions have been drafting players since 1936 and early on in their history, they did win championships. But for the most part, they have been perennial losers. That’s a shame for perhaps their greatest first-round pick in history, Barry Sanders who never got to taste a deep run in the playoffs while he became one of the greatest running backs in history. Detroit has drafted some Hall of Fame-worthy players but they didn’t stay with the Lions. Otto Graham would be one of those who established his legacy in Cleveland. Another was Y.A. Tittle in 1948 who would go on to star with the Giants. But without question, the best first-rounder for the Detroit Lions hands down was Barry Sanders.

Honorable Mentions: Alex Karras (1958), Greg Landry (1968), John Hadl (1962), Billy Sims (1980), Robert Porcher (1992), Jeff Hartings (1996), Roy Williams (2004), Calvin Johnson (2007)

Harv Aronson

Harv Aronson


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