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8 Greatest Detroit Lions’ players of all-time

Nov 26, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) celebrates his touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter of a NFL game on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a fan of the Detroit Lions, you are well aware of the fact the team has never been to a Super Bowl. Heck, they only have one playoff win in the Super Bowl era.

Even though they may be one of the least successful franchises in NFL history, the Lions have had some very good players over the years.

Here is a list of the top 8 players in the history of the Detroit Lions.

#8 – HERMAN MOORE (WR) (1991-2001)

Herman Moore-Flickr

Herman Moore was drafted by the Lions in the first round of the 1991 NFL Draft and never looked back. Moore held the Lions record for most career receptions with 670 until he was passed by Calvin Johnson. Other than Johnson, Moore is the best wide receiver ever to play for the Lions.

#7 – ALEX KARRAS (DT) (1958-1962 AND 1964-1970)

Alex Karras - Creative Commons

Alex Karras was drafted in the first round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Lions. In his 12 seasons with the team, he was considered one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the league. Karras was selected to play in four Pro Bowls and was named to the 1960’s All-Decade NFL Team.

#6 – Jason Hanson (K) (1992-2012)

Yes, a kicker made the list!

Jason Hanson spent 20 years with the Detroit Lions and is the team’s all-time leader in scoring, with 2,100 points, and in field goals with 483, and holds a variety of other team records for kicking and scoring.

Career highlights and awards
  • 2× Pro Bowl (1997, 1999)
  • AP Second-Team All-Pro (1997)
  • SN First-Team All-Pro (1993)
  • Consensus All-American (1989)
  • PFWA NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1992)
  • PFW Golden Toe Award (2008)
  • PFW First-Team All-NFC (1993, 1999)
  • Holds multiple NFL records
Career NFL statistics
Field goals made: 495
Field goals attempted: 601
Field goal %: 82.4
Long field goal: 56
Points scored: 2,150

#5 – LEM BARNEY (CB) (1967-1977)

Lem Barney - Flickr

Lem Barney, who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is the greatest defensive back ever to play for the Detroit Lions. Barney was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1967 as a second-round draft pick and was selected to seven Pro Bowls. Barney was also named to NFL 1960’s All-Decade Team.

#4 – BOBBY LAYNE (QB) (1950-1958)

Bobby Layne - Creative Commons

Bobby Layne was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1948 NFL Draft. Layne went on to join the Detroit Lions in 1950 and is recognized by most as the best quarterback in the history of the team. Layne led the Lions to three NFL championships, including their most recent in 1957. Layne was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and was named a member of the NFL 1950’s All-Decade Team.

#3 – CALVIN JOHNSON (WR) (2007-2015)

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Detroit Lions
Nov 22, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) adjusts his helmet during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Calvin Johnson, or “Megatron” as many fans like to call him, is without question one of the best receivers ever to play in the NFL. Prior to retiring, Johnson racked up 11,619 receiving yards and 83 touchdown receptions, both of which are Lions records.  He is a sure Hall of Famer and deserving of the No. 3 spot on this list.

#2 – JOE SCHMIDT (LB) (1953-1965)

Joe Schmidt - Creative Commons

Joe Schmidt is without question the greatest linebacker ever to suit up for the Detroit Lions. Schmidt is a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He helped lead the Lions to two NFL championships and will always be known as one of the toughest players ever to play in the NFL.

#1 – BARRY SANDERS (RB) (1989-1998)

Barry Sanders - Flickr

Taking the No. 1 spot on the list of greatest Detroit Lions of all-time is none other than Barry Sanders. Sanders is the greatest running back ever to play in the NFL and his running style was something to behold. Sanders was selected to the Pro Bowl every year from 1989-1998 and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Barry still holds the NFL record with 14 consecutive 100-yard rushing games.

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