The 10 best draft choices by the Lions since 2000

Calvin Johnson was one of the most dominant receivers during his time with the Lions. [Image Source: Flickr | Calvin Johnson]
Calvin Johnson was one of the most dominant receivers during his time with the Lions. [Image Source: Flickr | Calvin Johnson]

Despite an abrupt ending to his playing career, Calvin Johnson leads the way.

NFL

After looking at the best recent draft picks for teams that currently occupy the first seven selections of April’s draft, it’s time to look at the Lions who have the eighth pick. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports has them taking edge rusher Montez Sweat out of Mississippi State with that pick.

Detroit’s struggles over the years have been well-documented. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1991 and have never appeared in the Super Bowl. Despite the fairly evident lack of success, there have been some good draft picks since 2000, albeit not a lot of game-changing players after the top-four or five.

Note: Only time with the Lions was considered for the list. Where they were drafted makes a difference - meaning this isn’t exactly a top-ten player drafted by Detroit since 2000 list. Some late-round picks who didn’t quite make the list but had solid careers with the team include Terrence Holt (fifth round, 2003), Theo Riddick (sixth round, 2013), Nevin Lawson (fourth round, 2014), and Quandre Diggs (sixth round, 2015).

1

Calvin Johnson, WR - 1st round, 2nd overall (2007); time with Lions: 2007-2015

While Johnson ended his playing career at the young age of 30, his complete dominance while playing puts him in the top spot. He set a NFL record with 1,964 receiving yards in the 2012 season. In his nine-year career, the six-time Pro Bowler caught 731 passes for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns.

2

Matthew Stafford, QB - 1st round, 1st overall (2009); time with Lions: 2009-present

Stafford has started under center for Detroit 141 times over 10 seasons. He has thrown for 38,526 yards and threw for at least 4,257 yards seven straight years from 2011-2017. As reported by the Detroit Free Press, Stafford will have two new targets to throw to as wide receiver Danny Amendola and tight end Jesse James were added in free agency.

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