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. 14.
An 11th round pick of the New York Giants in the 1947 NFL Draft, Bob Hoernschemeyer teamed with Doak Walker in the early 1950s to give Detroit a dynamic backfield. While Walker got all the notoriety, Hoernschemeyer was a better runner than Walker, who would go on to reach the Hall of Fame.
Hoernschemeyer played six seasons in Detroit, recording just under 2,500 rushing yards. While Hoernschemyer had zero seasons with more than 700 rushing yards, he was one of Detroit’s first premier running backs who established the legacy of future greats like Barry Sanders and Billy Sims in Detroit.
Almost approaching 60 years after his retirement, Hoernschemeyer ranks 15th on Detroit’s all-time rushing list ahead of Walker and even Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, two legends in college football history. During his six years in Detroit, Hoernschemyer led the Lions in rushing four times and was a two-time Pro Bowler. He also helped Detroit win two of their three championships in the 1950s in 1952 and 1953. In 1953, Hoernschemeyer led the Lions with 51 rushing yards in the 1953 NFL Championship against the vaunted Cleveland Browns.
Without Hoernschemyer, the legacy of Detroit’s great running backs may not be as prevalent as it is today.
Other nominees: Shaun Hill (2010-2013), Earl Morrall (1958-64)
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