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 based on their jersey number. This list now continues with my selection for the best at No. 10.
The 60th overall pick for the Lions in the 1998 NFL Draft, Charlie Batch was pressed into action as a rookie, replacing the ineffective Scott Mitchell early in the year. Like most Detroit QBs before him, Batch was not able to lift the Lions out of their playoff doldrums.
Despite helping Detroit make the Wild Card playoffs in 1999, Batch was injured for the Wild Card game, giving way to journeyman backup Gus Frerotte. The Lions would lose to the Washington Redskins 27-13. Despite not having even one 2,500-yard passing season in his four years with Detroit, Batch played well enough to put the Lions in playoff contention in 1999 and 2000.
In 2000, the Lions needed a win against Chicago in the final game of the regular season in order to secure a playoff berth, but Batch was hurt once again and the Lions’ chances were doomed. Batch would only play one more season for the Lions in 2001, going 0-9 in Matt Millen‘s first year as GM.
While mostly known now as the backup quarterback to Pittsburgh Steelers‘ Ben Roethlisberger for eight seasons, Batch was more successful as a member of the Lions. During his Lions tenure, Batch threw for 9,016 yards with 49 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. Batch’s numbers placed him sixth on the all-time list when he was released, and he is now in ninth place.
In terms of past Lions quarterbacks, Batch’s reign must be considered a success considering that he took over for Mitchell as a rookie in the middle of the season and put the Lions in contention the next two years after the great Barry Sanders retired. If Batch wouldn’t have been hurt in 2000, maybe the Lions’ fortunes could have changed instead of having to suffer the Matt Millen era.
Other nominees: Reggie Swinton (2003-04), Scottie Vines (2004-05)