Detroit Lions miss out on Barry Sanders in 1989 NFL re-draft

When we look back at the greatest Detroit Lions ever to play the game, the great Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders is at the top of the list.

But what if the Lions never even had a chance to select Barry?

According to a 1989 NFL re-draft we came across, that’s exactly the case as Troy Aikman was selected No. 1 overall by the Dallas Cowboys (no change there) and Barry was selected No. 2 overall by the Green Bay Packers.

With the No. 3 overall pick, the Lions were able to snag possibly the greatest CB to ever play in the NFL, Deion Sanders out of Florida State.

Here is a summary of the first three picks, according to Robinson Athletic.

Barry Sanders goes to Green Bay Packers in 1989 NFL re-draft

1 Dallas Cowboys
Select: Troy Aikman      QB   UCLA
Aikman of course was the actual selection by the Dallas Cowboys.
There were 4 Hall of Famers from this draft. It may not be as easy as you think to pick Aikman when you consider who else was there (actually it still is a no-brainer). As much as I like some of the other players in this draft, Aikman had a great career and was an elite QB. We know that these guys are hard to come by. This would absolutely still be the pick for the Cowboys. When you have a QB who wins you Super Bowls you are thrilled. No reason to go back on the pick that got you Super Bowls.

2 Green Bay Packers
Select:   Barry Sanders      RB      Oklahoma State
Sanders was actually selected with the 3rd overall pick by the Detroit Lions.
Actual Selection: Tony Mandarich        OT           Michigan State
The Packers would have the chance here not only to avoid one of the biggest busts of all-time, but to pick up one of 3 Hall of Famers. Everyone selected in the top 5 other than Mandarich went to the Hall of Fame. That is a crazy high hit percentage. The one team that blew it was Green Bay. They would have loved to re-draft this one. Had a re-draft happened, Green Bay would pick the greatest RB that I have seen play in Barry Sanders. I rarely say to pick a back this high, but Sanders is obviously an exception to this rule. This selection would also keep him away from a division rival.

3 Detroit Lions
Select: Deion Sanders      CB       Florida State
Sanders was actually selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 5th overall pick.
Actual Selection: Barry Sanders     RB      Oklahoma State
So the Lions miss out on their actual pick of the Hall of Fame Sanders. They respond by selecting another Hall of Fame Sanders. From arguably the best RB of all-time to arguably the best CB of all-time. From one dynamic playmaker to another. They go from the quiet confidence of Barry to the outrageous antics of Deion. Honestly, this is one case where I don’t think you can really lose.

Nation, would the Lions have won more or less had they picked Deion Sanders instead of Barry?

Written by W.G. Brady

W.G. Brady is a Detroit-based journalist who has been covering the Detroit sports scene for Detroit Sports Nation for several years. He is in his early 30s and has a wealth of experience in the industry. Throughout his career, W.G. has established himself as a respected and knowledgeable journalist known for his in-depth coverage of the teams and athletes in Detroit. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for sports, W.G. has become a go-to source for fans and readers looking for the latest news and analysis on the Detroit sports scene. He has a good reputation in the sports community and is respected for his unbiased coverage of sports events. W.G. is known for his ability to uncover hidden stories and provide unique perspectives on the teams and athletes he covers. He has a good understanding of the city of Detroit and its sports culture, which he uses to inform his reporting and analysis. He continues to be a respected journalist in the Detroit sports industry.

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