Hits and misses: The Detroit Lions' history drafting at No. 2 a mixed bag

Hits and misses: The Detroit Lions' history drafting at No. 2 a mixed bag

Hits and misses: The Detroit Lions' history drafting at No. 2 a mixed bag

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Eric WoodyardESPN

DETROIT -- With the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft (8 p.m. ET, ESPN, ABC, ESPN app), the Detroit Lions have a chance to take another step toward turning the franchise around ... or maybe not.

In the history of the franchise, the Lions have drafted No. 2 five times -- the last coming in 2010 -- and have experienced mixed results.

Overall, No. 2 picks have been hit or miss over the past dozen years. Of the past 10 No. 2 picks, six have made at least one Pro Bowl while one has made an All-Pro team: Carson Wentz (second team in 2017).

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But there have been some big successes, too.

The No. 2 pick in 2011 was Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Von Miller. Over his career with the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams, Miller has made eight Pro Bowls, which is one more than the last 10 No. 2 picks combined. He has also been named first-team All-Pro three times and and second-team All-Pro four times.

In 2010, the Lions took defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh at No. 2. He made five Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams during his time with Detroit and the Miami Dolphins.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes made it clear that he’s in search of a game-changer. Recent mock drafts have had the Lions taking a number of players, including defensive ends Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux, as well as defensive backs Kyle Hamilton and Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner. In his most recent mock, ESPN NFL draft analyst Matt Miller has the Lions selecting Hutchinson.

“Well, anything can happen at any day, I will say that," Holmes said. "But it’s not just narrowing it down to your top two. You better have your top five. You better have your top 10 in place, because you just don’t know what’s going to happen each day. We do have it narrowed down, and we feel confident where we’re at with how we have it pared down. We’ll just let the process unfold.”

Here is a look at what the Lions have done with the No. 2 draft pick over the years.

2010: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

No. 90 brought the muscle to Motown instantly. Suh was often criticized for his aggressive style, but you couldn’t deny his production as he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010. He also earned three first-team All-Pro nods while making the 2010s All-Decade Team. It wasn’t until he left Detroit that he would ultimately become a Super Bowl champion with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

2007: Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech

The Lions certainly got it right with this pick as “Megatron” would become the greatest wide receiver in franchise history. His nine-year career in Detroit was nothing short of spectacular. He holds the franchise records for career receptions (731), receiving yards (11,619) and receiving touchdowns (83). In 2021, he also became the third player enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at age 35 or younger, joining Gale Sayers and Jim Brown.

2003: Charles Rogers, WR, Michigan State

The Saginaw, Michigan product enjoyed an outstanding career at Michigan State, but he couldn’t recreate that magic for the Lions. He was limited to 15 games in three years due to a season-ending injury to his clavicle and a suspension for substance abuse in 2005 before being released in September 2006. He would never get another NFL opportunity. In 2019, at the age of 38, he died of liver failure after having been diagnosed with cancer.

1949: John Rauch, QB, Georgia

Although Rauch was drafted by the Lions, he never suited up for them professionally. Instead, he was traded to the New York Bulldogs for Southern Methodist University running back Doak Walker, who would become one of the all-time greats in franchise history. Walker helped the Lions win two NFL championships in 1952 and 1953 while making the All-Pro team four times. He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

1947: Glenn Davis, HB, Army

Davis’ professional football career lasted two seasons for the Lions and wasn't memorable. He appeared in 12 games, catching 10 passes for 132 yards. But Davis would ultimately leave his mark in track and field -- after football -- as he won three gold medals as an Olympic sprinter and hurdler in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. Davis is a member of the United States Olympics Hall of Fame. He died in 2009 at 74 from pulmonary fibrosis.