It is time to find out which players are the greatest Detroit Lions draft picks of all time.
As you read through this list, please remember that the list is based on the best draft picks of all-time, not necessarily the top players. For example, if Player A and Player B were completely equal as far accomplishments, but Player A was drafted in the fifth round and Player B was drafted in the first round, Player A would get the nod.
So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, here are the Top 8 Detroit Lions draft picks of all-time.
#8 – Calvin Johnson (WR) – 1st Round, (2007)
Even though Calvin Johnson was drafted 2nd overall in 2007 and was expected to perform well, there was no way to leave him off of this list.
During his career, Johnson became one of the greatest wide receivers ever to play the game of football and he is a Hall of Famer.
#7 – Charlie Sanders (TE) – 3rd Round, 1952
Charlie Sanders is the best tight end ever to play for the Detroit Lions. Drafted in the 3rd round, Sanders proved to be a steal of a draft pick as he racked up 336 catches in his career and was eventually elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
#6 – Lou Creekmur (OL) – 2nd round (special draft), 1950
Lou Creekmur, who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was a six-time All-Pro offensive lineman. He was also a part of three Detroit Lions NFL championship teams.
Creekmur was a tough player who played in an era where the quality of equipment was nowhere near what it is now. In fact, you were considered weak if you wore a facemask. As a result, Creekmur broke his nose at least 13 times.
Despite broken noses, dislocations, and other injuries that would sideline the players of this generation, Creekmur never missed a game in 10 seasons.
#5 – Yale Lary (S/P) – 3rd round, 1952
Not only was Lary Yale a nine-time Pro-Bowl selection, he was also a three-time punting champion. Yale had 5o career interceptions and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also won three NFL championships as a member of the Detroit Lions.
#4 – Lem Barney (CB) – 2nd round, 1967
Lem Barney began his career by winning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 1967. Barney was a seven-time NFL All-Pro and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.
#3 – Jack Christiansen (S) – 6th round, 1951
Jack Christiansen is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also selected to the Pro-Bowl five times and was a member of three NFL championship teams with the Lions in the 1950s. In 1953 he led the league with 12 interceptions.
#2 – Barry Sanders (RB) – 1st round, 1989
Here is where I get in trouble with the fans. Remember, this is not a list of the top Detroit Lions players of all time, it is a list of the top Detroit Lions draft picks of all time.
Barry Sanders is without question the greatest Detroit Lions player ever, but since he was drafted in the first round, I will bump him down a notch to No. 2.
Sanders is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and finished his career with 15,269 rushing yards.
#1 – Joe Schmidt (LB) – 7th round, 1953
Joe Schmidt was a 10-time Pro-Bowl selection, he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he was named a member of the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team. Schmidt also won two NFL championships with the Lions and will go down as one of the greatest players ever to wear the Honolulu blue and silver.
My reason for putting Schmidt ahead of the great Barry Sanders was because he was a seventh-round draft pick who won multiple championships and is one best ever to play the game of football.