Tue, 24 May 2022

O'HARA: How Lions have fared with the No. 2 overall pick

Detroit Lions
17 Jan 2022, 00:25 GMT+10

Mike OHara

If history repeats in the 2022 NFL draft, odds are strongly in favor of the Detroit Lions getting a good player with the second overall pick.

They've had the second pick four times in the Super Bowl era, and used it to draft five players. The extra pick was from a 1988 trade that netted two players who helped build the foundation for Lions teams that were consistent playoff contenders in the 1990s.

Four of the five players made the Pro Bowl, and one was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only one of the five failed to make an impact.

Following is a look at how the Lions used the second pick overall in 1988, 2003, 2007 and 2010.

1988 - Double up, Blades and Spielman:

The Lions were set on taking safety Bennie Blades of Miami (Fla.), and took advantage of a trade offer from the Kansas City Chiefs that was too good to refuse.

The Chiefs had the third pick and wanted defensive end Neil Smith of Nebraska. They were fearful of a team jumping ahead of them in a deal with the Lions to take Smith.

The Chiefs' offer was too good to pass: A swap of first-round picks, plus giving the Lions their second-round pick - with assurances they would draft Smith.

The Lions took Blades in the first round and snagged linebacker Chris Spielman of Ohio State with the second pick in the second round.

It might have been the Lions' best draft trade in franchise history.

Blades and Spielman were leaders of the defense for almost a decade. Spielman was a Lion from 1988-95, making four Pro Bowls and All-Pro once. Blades was a Lion from 1988-96 and made one Pro Bowl.

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2003 - One that missed:

The Lions were committed early to taking wide receiver Charles Rogers of Michigan State. Rogers had blazing speed, but he also had problems that followed him to Detroit.

He showed that speed in his first NFL game, catching two TD passes in an opening-day win over the Cardinals. Unfortunately, that was Rogers' only highlight.

Rogers sustained a broken collarbone in practice that ended his rookie season. He broke the collarbone again on opening day of 2004.

He never recovered from the two injuries. He played only 15 games as a pro and was out of the NFL after catching 14 passes in nine games for the Lions in 2005.

Rogers had 34 career catches and four TDs. He passed away in 2019.

2007 - Megatron arrives:

Team president Matt Millen had drafted three wide receivers in the first round of the previous four drafts. He made it four in five years by taking Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech.

Dubbed Megatron by teammate Roy Williams, Johnson was as good as advertised. At 6-5 and 237 pounds with great speed and leaping ability, he simply overpowered defensive backs - and most linebackers.

He set most of the franchise receiving records in his nine seasons as a Lion. He holds the NFL record for most receiving yards in a season with 1,964 in 2012.

Johnson made six Pro Bowls and was All Pro three times. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021.

2010 - A man named Suh:

Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska was the best player in the 2010 draft for his play in his final college season.

Suh was a dominant player in the five seasons he played for the Lions. He made four Pro Bowls and was All Pro three times. He departed after the 2014 season as a free agent.

He has played for the Dolphins, Rams and Bucs - his current team - since leaving Detroit.

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