Ranking the greatest Detroit Lions of all time is no easy task to accomplish. From No. 1 all the way up to No. 99, I will attempt to rank the greatest Lions players for each jersey number. This list now continues with my selection for the best at No. 13.
Originally a third-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2003 NFL Draft, Nate Burleson turned from bitter rival to one of Detroit’s most popular players. For four seasons, Burleson was the man assigned to be the complimentary receiver to Calvin Johnson. While Burleson had his moments in Detroit, he was not able to be a bona fide No. 2 receiver.
Burleson signed a five-year, $25 million deal in 2010 to join the Lions after a four-year stint with the Seattle Seahawks, reuniting with former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who worked in Minnesota when Burleson was drafted. Burleson did not record a single-season with more than 75 catches, 800 receiving yards or seven touchdowns, but given the other weapons the Lions had during that span, his numbers were actually good.
Burleson was released this offseason as a cap casualty and because of a poor 2013 season. Whether it was his misfortune of wearing No. 13 or some other circumstances, Burleson broke his arm in a single car accident trying to save a falling pizza. Nothing went better for Burleson as he only recorded 39 receptions for 461 yards and just one touchdown. While Burleson will be known mostly as a fan favorite, his inability to become a featured weapon has hurt the Lions the past four seasons. With no other impact players to wear No. 13, Burleson is the default choice here. It is safe to say that 13 is not a good number for anyone, let alone a Lions player.
Other nominees: None