Inside the Article:
The NFL Draft is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you're going to get. Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions, they have had some coconut-filled chocolates throughout the years. This list is like a visit to a Lions fan's therapist, where we'll rehash the five biggest draft busts in Lions history. From Charles “injury-prone” Rogers to Joey “pick-six” Harrington, the Lions have collected more busts than a failed art museum. And who can forget Mike “all-you-can-eat-buffet” Williams or Andre “backup QB for life” Ware? Even former Lions President and CEO Matt Millen deserves a spot on this list for his questionable draft picks.
5 Biggest busts in Detroit Lions NFL Draft history
Here are the five biggest busts in Lions franchise history.
Charles Rogers was a star receiver at Michigan State University, and the Lions selected him with the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Rogers was expected to be a game-changing receiver for the Lions, but injuries and off-field issues derailed his career. He suffered a broken collarbone in his rookie season and missed most of the year. Rogers was suspended twice for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and he was released by the Lions in 2006. He tried to make a comeback with the Miami Dolphins in 2008, but it was unsuccessful. Rogers tragically passed away in 2019 at the age of 38.
Joey Harrington was the third overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, and he was expected to be the franchise quarterback that the Lions had been searching for. However, Harrington struggled mightily in Detroit, throwing 60 interceptions in 55 starts. He had a career passer rating of 69.4 and was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2006. Harrington played for four different teams during his NFL career but never found success as a starting quarterback.
The Lions selected Mike Williams with the 10th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, hoping that he would be the big-bodied receiver they needed. However, Williams struggled with weight issues and was out of the league by 2011. He played just two seasons with the Lions and caught only 29 passes for 350 yards and one touchdown. Williams had brief stints with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks, but he was never able to recapture the form he showed in college at USC.
Andre Ware was the seventh overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, and he was expected to be the Lions' quarterback of the future. However, Ware only started six games in his NFL career and finished with a career passer rating of 51.6. He was unable to beat out Rodney Peete for the starting job in Detroit, and he was traded to the Los Angeles Raiders in 1994. Ware had brief stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Canadian Football League, but he never found success as a professional quarterback.
Although he was not a player, Matt Millen deserves a spot on this list. Millen was the Lions' President and CEO from 2001-2008, and he oversaw one of the worst stretches in NFL history. The team went 31-81 during his tenure, and he made a number of disastrous draft picks, including Harrington and Williams. Millen was widely criticized for his handling of the team, and he was fired by the Lions in 2008. He has since worked as a commentator for various NFL broadcasts.
Bottom Line: The NFL Draft has been like a box of chocolates for the Lions
The NFL Draft is an integral part of building a successful team in the league, and the Lions have not been immune to drafting busts over the years. This list has highlighted some of the most significant busts in Lions history, including Charles Rogers, Joey Harrington, Mike Williams, Andre Ware, and even former Lions President and CEO Matt Millen. These players were expected to be key contributors for the franchise, but injuries, off-field issues, or simply a lack of talent derailed their careers. Unfortunately for Lions fans, these draft busts have contributed to the team's prolonged struggles and lack of success throughout the years. It sure seems like GM Brad Holmes has turned things around, but let's hope it continues!