Ranking The Detroit Lions’ 10 Best Draft Classes Of All Time

Ranking The Detroit Lions' 10 Best Draft Classes Of All Time

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The Detroit Lions have made plenty of great individual picks who have helped the franchise become what it is today. From Calvin Johnson in 2007 to Ndamukong Suh in 2010 and even Herman Moore in 1991, these players have helped the Lions reach the postseason while also becoming Pro Bowl players. But which draft classes rank as the best?

Here now are the 10 greatest Detroit Lions' draft classes of all time.

10. 2001

Shaun Rogers Lions
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10. 2001

Shaun Rogers Lions
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In 2001, the Lions selected three players in the trenches who would go on to have successful NFL careers. Left tackle Jeff Backus was a consistent offensive lineman for 12 seasons. Center Dominic Raiola has started for Detroit in each of the past 12 seasons. Defensive tackle Shaun Rogers made two Pro Bowls in his seven seasons in Detroit.

9. 2009

Matthew Stafford Lions
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9. 2009

Matthew Stafford Lions
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After the worst season in NFL History in 2008, the 0-16 Detroit Lions used the 2009 class to help restore the roar to Detroit and make a postseason appearance in 2011. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has become Detroit's most prolific passer in team history. Safety Louis Delmas was a solid player for five seasons before leaving for Miami this offseason, and both tight end Brandon Pettigrew and linebacker DeAndre Levy are solid players.

8. 1992

Jason Hanson Lions
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8. 1992

Jason Hanson Lions
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The year after Detroit's only postseason victory in the past 50-plus years, the 1992 class helped Detroit make five postseason appearances in the rest of the decade. Defensive ends Robert Porcher and Tracy Scroggins would each record 50-plus sacks as Lions. Kicker Jason Hanson would become one of the NFL's most prolific kickers of all time, and defensive back Willie Clay would record 11 interceptions in his four-year Lions career.

7. 1995

Cory Schlesinger Lions
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7. 1995

Cory Schlesinger Lions
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The 1995 Detroit Lions class would produce three Pro Bowl players and four quality starters. This class would make three postseason appearances for the Lions at the end of the decade. Defensive tackle Luther Ellis made two Pro Bowl appearances and started for each of his eight seasons in Detroit. Tight end David Sloan and fullback Cory Schlesinger became quality offensive players and linebacker Stephen Boyd made two Pro Bowls.

6. 1967

Lem Barney Lions
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6. 1967

Lem Barney Lions
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The 1967 class would produce one of the greatest Detroit Lions ever and two other quality players. Defensive back Lem Barney became a Hall of Famer and one of the best defensive backs ever. Running back Mel Farr and linebacker Paul Naumoff would each make Pro Bowl appearances with all three helping the Lions reach the 1970 playoffs.

5. 1968

Charlie Sanders Lions
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5. 1968

Charlie Sanders Lions
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Just like 1967, the 1968 class produced one of the greatest Detroit Lions in franchise history and two solid players. Tight end Charlie Sanders became a Hall of Fame tight end for the Lions in his 10 year NFL career, all with Detroit. Quarterback Greg Landry would become the Lions' last Pro Bowl quarterback before Matthew Stafford, and wide receiver Earl McCullouch won the 1968 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

4. 1988

Chris Spielman Lions
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4. 1988

Chris Spielman Lions
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In the 1988 Draft, the Detroit Lions selected three defensive players who would become fixtures on Detroit's underrated defense in the 1990s. Safety Bennie Blades would reach one Pro Bowl and would make the postseason five times. Linebacker Chris Spielman made four Pro Bowls and made four postseason appearances in Detroit. Safety William White started five of his six seasons in Detroit and made two postseason appearances.

3. 1989

Barry Sanders Lions
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3. 1989

Barry Sanders Lions
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Very rarely does one player make a draft class great, but when it's Barry Sanders, there is an exception. Sanders was not the only quality player the Lions selected in 1989. Quarterback Rodney Peete would play in Detroit for five seasons as an on-again off-again starter. Cornerback Ray Crockett had five solid seasons in Detroit before winning Super Bowls in Denver, but Sanders became one of the best running backs of all time.

2. 1953

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2. 1953

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The 1953 class would win an NFL championship the same year and helped Detroit win another in 1957. Offensive linemen Harley Sewell and Charlie Ane would make multiple Pro Bowl appearances for Detroit, but linebacker Joe Schmidt is the headliner. Schmidt was one of the greatest middle linebackers of all time and is arguably the greatest defensive player in Lions history.

1. 1951

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1. 1951

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The 1951 class is he greatest in Lions history and helped the team win three World Championships in the 1950s. Guard Dick Stanfel became a perennial Pro Bowl player for both the Lions and the Washington Redskins. Defensive back Jack Christiansen became a Hall of Famer for the Lions. Linebacker LaVern Torgeson and wide receiver Jim Doran were solid players in their Detroit Lions careers.


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