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 Bad draft picks at the heart of Detroit Lions' losses 
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Post Bad draft picks at the heart of Detroit Lions' losses
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Bad draft picks at the heart of Detroit Lions' losses
by Tom Kowalski | Analysis
Wednesday December 24, 2008, 1:00 AM

ALLEN PARK -- The Detroit Lions' pursuit of NFL infamy, by virtue of their potential 0-16 record, did not just happen. Losing all 16 games in a season cannot be attributed to a bad call, a bad break or a bad bounce.

Instead, it is the result of being bad, period.

Draft picks are the backbone of all NFL teams. The perennial playoff teams do it well, the mediocre teams do it average and the bad teams? They do it like the Lions.

There are a lot of factors that dictate whether a team will be successful. While issues such as coaching and schemes have their impact, nothing is more important than being strong in the draft.

So here is a list of the Lions' 16 worst draft-day decisions in recent years, beginning with perhaps one of the most short-sighted: Drafting cornerback Terry Fair with the 20th overall pick 1998 while receiver Randy Moss still was on the board (and taken 21st by the Minnesota Vikings).

The list is capped by the decision two years ago to take Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton in the second round.

While Stanton has been mostly injured during his short career, the error in judgment with this pick was not in who they took, but who they passed up. The Lions already had quarterbacks Jon Kitna and Dan Orlovsky on the roster but were desperate for linebacking help.

What did the Lions do? They traded out of their original 34th position (where the Buffalo Bills took Paul Posluszny) and moved down to 43rd to take Stanton.

In doing so, Detroit passed up two excellent young linebackers -- Lamar Woodley, who was drafted 46th by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and David Harris, who was drafted 47th by the New York Jets.

Here's the complete list of missed opportunities:

1998
CB Terry Fair, first round, 20th overall
• Still there: WR Randy Moss (21st), S Donovin Darius (25th) and G Alan Faneca (26th)

• Summary: Fair showed flashes in his career, mostly as a kickoff returner, but never was consistent, and injuries knocked him out of the league prematurely.




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1999
LB Chris Claiborne, first round, (9th overall)
• Still there: CB Chris McAlister (10th) and DE Jevon Kearse (16th)

T Aaron Gibson, first round, (27th overall)
• Still there: DE Patrick Kerney (30th), LB Al Wilson (31st)

• Summary: More promise than production coming out of college, Claiborne never became a playmaker and the Lions allowed him to leave in free agency. Gibson had weight issues, and the Lions were unaware of his shoulder problems when they drafted him. Those injuries ultimately ended his career.


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2000
T Stockar McDougle, first round, 20th
• Still there: CB Ahmed Plummer (24th), DL Chris Hovan (25th) and LB Keith Bulluck (30th)

LB Barrett Green, second round, 50th
• Still there: T Todd Wade (53th) and OL Brad Meester (60th)

Summary: McDougle was talented but had no interest in becoming a productive NFL player. McDougle, another player with weight problems, got by on his talent as long as he could, and then happily walked away. Green had excellent speed and was brought in for his coverage ability, but he had no feel for that part of the game.


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2002
QB Joey Harrington, first round, 3rd
• Still there: CB Quentin Jammer (5th), T Bryant McKinnie (7th), DE Dwight Freeney (11th) and DT Albert Haynesworth (15th)

DE Kalimba Edwards, second round, 35th
• Still there: OL Andre Gurode (37th), C LeCharles Bentley (44th) and RB Clinton Portis (51st)

DE John Taylor, fourth round, 134th
• Still there: RB Najeh Davenport (135th)

Summary: Then-coach Marty Mornhinweg never wanted Harrington and really wanted to trade down to get some defensive help. Edwards, like Harrington, looked the part all the way up until the kickoff. Taylor was a huge blunder, even in the fourth round. He was a guy out of Montana State who was a good athlete but had no football skills.


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2003
WR Charles Rogers, first round, 2nd
• Still there: WR Andre Johnson (3rd), DL Dewaye Robertson (4th), CB Terence Newman (5th) and DT Kevin Williams (9th), DE/LB Terrell Suggs (10th) and S Troy Polamalu (16th)

LB Boss Bailey, second round, 34th
• Still there: CB Charles Tillman (35th), T Jon Stinchcomb (37th), CB Rashean Mathis (39th), LB E.J. Henderson (40th) and WR Anquan Boldin (54th)

• Summary: On the one hand, the twice-broken collarbone was a, uh, bad break here. However, the Lions were aware of Rogers' potential for drug problems and that he might not have the mental makeup to handle a lot of adversity. The Lions also knew of Bailey's previous knee injuries, which have lingered for almost his entire career.


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2004
LB Teddy Lehman, second round, 37th
• Still there: S Bob Sanders (44th)

• Summary: While injuries were the ultimate reason for his short career, Lehman did not have the playmaking ability of a linebacker chosen that high in the draft.


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2005
WR Mike Williams, first round, 10th
• Still there: DE/LB DeMarcus Ware (11th), DE/LB Shawne Merriman (12th) and LB Derrick Johnson (15th)

DT Shaun Cody, second round, 37th
• Still there: LB Lofa Tatupu (45th)

CB Stanley Wilson, third round, 72nd
• Still there: DL Justin Tuck (74th)

Summary: Considering the fact Williams had more warning signs than a demolition site and the quality of defensive players available -- not to mention the fact the Lions did not need a receiver -- this could be the worst draft pick of all time. Not just in Lions' history, but in the history of the planet. Cody has not developed into anything more than a backup player, while Wilson was given every opportunity to show what he could do, and he did.


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2006
RB Brian Calhoun, third round, 74th
• Still there: OL Jason Spitz (75th) and RB Jerious Norwood (79th)

Summary: In a different system, Calhoun might have had a shot at some success, but he was exactly the wrong kind of guy for the system then-coordinator Mike Martz wanted to run. At this spot, the Lions were debating over taking an offensive lineman or Calhoun, and they guessed wrong.


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2007
QB Drew Stanton, second round, 43rd
• Still there: LB Lamar Woodley (46th) and LB David Harris (47th)

Summary: Considering the Lions' defensive needs, this was a poor decision. However, Stanton is the only guy on this list who still has the time (and potential) to play himself off of it.

http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/20 ... art_o.html

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December 24th, 2008, 11:46 am
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Millen Draft Pick - Epic Bust

Joined: December 27th, 2006, 4:53 pm
Posts: 693
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Ernie Sims over Cutler,Ngata,Cromartie,Mangold,Davin Joseph,Addai,Deangelo Williams,Kiwanuka?

Keith Smith over Nathan Vasher,Jared Allen,Chris Cooley,Shaun Phillips?


December 24th, 2008, 2:34 pm
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Millen Draft Pick - Epic Bust

Joined: December 27th, 2006, 4:53 pm
Posts: 693
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The 2nd round in 2007 takes the cake as far as bad scouting and drafting though. The Lions really had the 34th pick at first and had a shot at Posluszny,Weddle,Sears,Blalock and Ugoh. All very promising young players and starters for years to come. Only to pass on the Michigan men for Stanton. The Lions then decide to trade up twice in Round 2 to greatly reach on Francis and Alexander only after all of the top tier talent in the round were gone already. Just a complete and despicable failure by the entire personnel department. None of the 3 second rounders will ever be regular starters with the Lions. Or the NFL for that matter.


December 24th, 2008, 2:45 pm
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Player of the Year - Defense

Joined: September 13th, 2007, 12:43 pm
Posts: 2743
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Quote:
Summary: Considering the fact Williams had more warning signs than a demolition site and the quality of defensive players available -- not to mention the fact the Lions did not need a receiver -- this could be the worst draft pick of all time. Not just in Lions' history, but in the history of the planet.


Wanna see something funny?

http://lionbacker.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1052

Some funny quotes from this old topic:

I would love to see Williams fall to us. If he could add about 15 pounds, he would be the ultimate slot man, creating serious match up problems...or even TE.

If Edwards or Williams fall to the Lions at #10, that would be great, but it won't happen.

Trading up to grab Mike Williams should also not be overlooked as a possibility.

To me it just makes a ton of sense...If you are going to spend money I think a skilled position is a better investment...It seems like a win-win. People say drafting a WR a 3rd straight year in a row 1st round is crazy but look at what we did for Oline! WR seems to have been a better investment so far talent-wise.


I would love to see Mike Williams wearing the blue and white but it is very doubtful.


I guess its easy to crucify Millen for the pick, but it seems many wanted BMW back then.


December 25th, 2008, 4:33 am
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