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. He would notch one sack in his 2 seasons with the Lions.
Players passed on – Usama Young, Charles Johnson, Marshal Yanda, etc.
9 – Jahvid Best (2010 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 30)
Though he was concussion-prone coming out of the University of California-Berkeley, Detroit saw Best as their running back of the future. In a span of two seasons, he only played in 22 games, thanks in large part to him being diagnosed with three concussions. That’s all of the professional football Jahvid Best would play and it quickly put things in perspective for the Lions.
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 troublesome in college. In fact, he even got kicked out of a pre-draft training facility due to his poor behavior, yet the Lions still decided to draft him. He lasted two seasons in Detroit and didn’t see much football activity after that. Since parting ways with the Lions, Young has found himself in the courtroom more often than he would like.
Players passed on – Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Torrey Smith, etc.
7 – Aaron Gibson (1997 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 27)
Aaron Gibson was described as “a prototype right tackle in the NFL” coming out of college. Prior to his rookie season, a shoulder injury would occur, ending his chances of even playing that season. He would only last two more seasons in Detroit, before being waived. Gibson has the unfortunate honor of being the NFL’s first official player listed at 400 pounds.
Players passed on – Patrick Kerney, Mike Peterson, Mike Rucker, etc.
6 – Chuck Long (1986 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 12)
Chuck Long never seemed to look comfortable when called upon. He didn’t pan out well in Detroit, was traded to the Los Angeles Rams, and then the season after that, he returned to Detroit. The reason being… Well, that still remains a mystery. Long led the league with 20 interceptions thrown in 1987.
Players passed on – Ronnie Harmon, Will Wolford, Tim McGee, etc.
5 – Reggie Rogers (1987 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 7)
Reggie Rogers didn’t have much of a football career after being drafted out of college. He was convicted of vehicular homicide during his 2nd season in the NFL when his car struck another vehicle, ultimately killing 3 teenagers. His blood-alcohol level was nearly double the legal limit and the charge landed him 13 months in prison. After a brief stint with two NFL franchises after he got out of prison, Rogers found himself out of the NFL by the end of the 1992 season.
Players passed on – Jerome Brown, Rod Woodson, Heywood Jeffries, etc.
4 – Andre Ware (1990 NFL Draft – Round 1, Pick 7)
Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy in 1989. He spent four seasons in Detroit, playing in 14 total games, starting only six of the 14 total. He had five career touchdowns, eight interceptions, and seven fumbles. Drafting Ware was supposed to make the backfield in Detroit a force to be reckoned with along with Lions’ great, Barry Sanders, but that didn’t exactly go as planned.
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. He even tried out the Canadian Football League, where he was later released.
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 highly touted coming out of the University of Oregon. He lasted only four seasons with the Lions and produced more career interceptions than touchdowns during his tenure in Detroit.
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. Rogers didn’t have much of an NFL career once drafted, as drug-related issues and a broken clavicle later plagued him throughout his football playing days. He was even sued by the Lions and ordered to pay back $6.1 million of his total $9.1 million signing bonus. Rogers played a total of 15 games over a three-year span.
Players passed on – Andre Johnson, Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, etc.
What do you think, Nation? Were there any Lions draft picks that were left off of the list?