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10 Biggest Detroit Lions’ draft busts in the last 35 years

Being a Lions fan surely comes with its ups and downs, especially when the NFL Draft starts to get closer on the calendar. You don’t know whether they are going to draft at the right position or just draft a player that makes no sense whatsoever in regards to the team’s current identity and what direction they seem to be going in.

Here are the 10 Biggest Detroit Lions draft busts in the past 35 years.

10 – Ikaika Alama-Francis (2007 NFL Draft – Round 2, Pick 58)

Who??? I know that was the question on a good majority of Lions fans minds when they saw his name. The Lions surrendered the 66th and 145th overall picks in order to trade up and draft Alama-Francis.

Despite being a highly touted prospect, Alama-Francis struggled to make an impact in the NFL and failed to live up to his potential. He played in only 15 games over the course of three seasons with the Lions and recorded only 10 tackles and one sack.

Alama-Francis’s career in the NFL was marked by disappointment and underachievement. He was unable to secure a consistent role on the field, and his lack of production was a major contributor to the team’s struggles. He was eventually released by the Lions in 2010 and failed to catch on with another team. Alama-Francis’s career serves as a cautionary tale for highly touted prospects who fail to live up to their potential, and his time with the Detroit Lions is often remembered as a disappointment in his career.

Players passed on – Usama Young, Charles Johnson, Marshal Yanda, etc.

9 – Jahvid Best (2010 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 30)

Jahvid Best was a running back for the Detroit Lions from 2010-2011. He was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and was highly regarded for his speed, agility and big-play ability. Despite his impressive college career, Best struggled to make an impact in the NFL and his career was plagued by injuries.

Best was hampered by multiple concussions throughout his career and was eventually forced to retire due to the lingering effects of his injuries. He was unable to build on his promising start, and his time in the NFL was marked by disappointment and frustration. Best’s career serves as a reminder of the physical toll that football can take on players and the importance of player safety in the sport.

In 2014, Best sued both the NFL and helmet maker Riddell, in a concussion-based case, stating that the league “was aware of the evidence and the risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries … but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information.”

Players passed on – T.J. Ward, Rob Gronkowski, Zane Beadles, Sean Lee, etc.

8 – Titus Young (2011 NFL Draft – Round 2, Pick 44)

Titus Young was a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions from 2011-2012. He was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft and was expected to be a key contributor to the Lions’ offense. Despite his early promise, Young struggled on and off the field and was eventually released by the team due to his behavior and poor performance.

Young’s time in the NFL was marked by controversy and poor decision-making. He was frequently in trouble with the team and the league, and his lack of discipline and poor attitude resulted in a quick fall from grace. He was considered one of the biggest busts in recent NFL history and is often cited as an example of a talented player who failed to reach his full potential due to his own actions. Despite his struggles, Young remains a highly talented player and his story serves as a cautionary tale for young athletes about the importance of making the right choices both on and off the field.

Players passed on – Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Torrey Smith, etc.

7 – Aaron Gibson (1997 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 27)

Aaron Gibson was an offensive tackle for the Detroit Lions from 1999-2002. He was drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft and was considered one of the top prospects at his position. Despite his impressive size and strength, Gibson struggled to make an impact in the NFL and was unable to live up to his draft status.

Gibson’s time in the NFL was marked by injury and inconsistency. He was unable to secure a starting role with the Lions and was eventually released by the team in 2002. He bounced around between several other teams but was never able to establish himself as a dominant player. Gibson’s career is often considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history and serves as a cautionary tale for teams about the dangers of drafting players based on physical attributes alone.

Players passed on – Patrick Kerney, Mike Peterson, Mike Rucker, etc.

6 – Chuck Long (1986 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 12)

Chuck Long was a quarterback for the Detroit Lions from 1986-1988. He was drafted in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft and was considered one of the top prospects at his position. Despite his impressive college career and potential, Long struggled to make an impact in the NFL and was unable to live up to his draft status.

Long’s time in the NFL was marked by inconsistent play and a lack of success. He was unable to secure a starting role with the Lions and was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Despite being given several opportunities to prove himself, Long was never able to establish himself as a dominant player, and his career is often considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Despite his struggles, Long remains a highly skilled player and his story serves as a reminder of the unpredictability and uncertainty of success in professional sports.

Players passed on – Ronnie Harmon, Will Wolford, Tim McGee, etc.

5 – Reggie Rogers (1987 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 7)

Reggie Rogers was a defensive end for the Detroit Lions from 1987-1989. He was drafted in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft and was considered one of the top prospects at his position. Despite his impressive physical abilities, Rogers struggled to make an impact in the NFL and was unable to live up to his draft status.

Rogers’ time in the NFL was marked by off-field issues and poor performance. He was involved in several incidents that reflected poorly on himself and the Lions organization, including a DUI conviction that resulted in the death of three teenagers. His poor behavior and lack of discipline led to his release from the team and effectively ended his NFL career. Rogers’ story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of poor decision-making and the consequences of such actions.

Players passed on – Jerome Brown, Rod Woodson, Heywood Jeffries, etc.

4 – Andre Ware (1990 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 7)

Andre Ware was a quarterback for the Detroit Lions from 1990-1993. He was drafted in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft and was considered one of the top prospects at his position. Despite his impressive college career and potential, Ware struggled to make an impact in the NFL and was unable to live up to his draft status.

Ware’s time in the NFL was marked by inconsistent play and a lack of success. He was unable to secure a starting role with the Lions and was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Raiders. Despite being given several opportunities to prove himself, Ware was never able to establish himself as a dominant player, and his career is often considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history.

Players passed on – Lamar Lathon, Eric Green, Rob Moore, etc.

3 – Mike Williams (2005 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 10)

Mike Williams was the third consecutive wide receiver drafted in the 1st round by general manager Matt Millen at the time. He played two seasons in Detroit before bouncing around to three other franchises. Despite his impressive college career and potential, Williams struggled to make an impact in the NFL and was unable to live up to his draft status.

Williams’ time in the NFL was marked by poor performance and a lack of success. He was unable to secure a starting role with the Lions and was eventually released from the team. Despite being given several opportunities to prove himself, Williams was never able to establish himself as a dominant player.

Players passed on – DeMarcus Ware, Derrick Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Heath Miller, etc.

2 – Joey Harrington (2002 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 3)

Joey Harrington was a quarterback for the Detroit Lions from 2002-2005. He was drafted in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft and was considered one of the top prospects at his position. Despite his potential, Harrington struggled to make an impact in the NFL and was unable to live up to his draft status.

Harrington’s time in the NFL was marked by inconsistent play and a lack of success. He was unable to secure a starting role with the Lions and was eventually traded to the Miami Dolphins. Despite being given several opportunities to prove himself, and is considered a bust for sure.

Players passed on – Dwight Freeney, Jeremy Shockey, Ed Reed, etc.

1 – Charles Rogers (2003 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 2)

Charles Rogers, broke numerous receiving records while attending Michigan State, including winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. He was drafted second overall in the 2003 NFL Draft and was considered one of the top prospects at his position. Despite his impressive college career and potential, Rogers struggled to make an impact in the NFL and was unable to live up to his draft status.

Rogers’ time in the NFL was marked by a series of setbacks and failures. He was plagued by injury and legal problems, which prevented him from performing at his best. He was also unable to secure a starting role with the Lions and was eventually released from the team. Despite being given several opportunities to prove himself, Rogers was never able to establish himself as a dominant player and his career is often considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Rogers’ story serves as a reminder of the importance of dedication, perseverance and hard work in achieving success in professional sports.

Players passed on – Andre Johnson, Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, etc.

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