Considering the track record Mr. Millen had for the better part of the decade, virtually any draft would seem better than the ones we had. I read through Sean's list again this morning and I don't know how many times I read somebody in the bottom half and said "Oh yeah! I remember him." What so many people don't realize outside of Detroit is that it wasn't so much as to how many times Millen screwed up the 1st round pick; but its the rest of the draft where he drafted very questionable players at very questionable times.
It's no secret that the last two years under Mayhew, we have actually drafted very well. Has it just seemed that good because Millens were so bad? Or did it seem that good because they were THAT GOOD.
This morning I thought to myself, when was the best draft we've had? Now before anything; I think it's safe to assume that most of us were born after 1980 so just for the sake of a good argument, please don't come in with crap from the 1950's or something. Nobody was alive so nobody remembers.
My first thought this morning was 1995. In that draft we managed to snag Luther Ellis, David Sloan, Corey Schlesinger, and Stephen Boyd. For those of us who can remember back to the good ol' 90's with Wayne Fontes and then Bobby Ross, in this draft were some of the all time fan favorites of the Lions. Luther had a pretty good 5+ years with us including a Pro Bowl appearance(I know he was with us longer but he was injured quite bit after Millen came in so I'm just guessing) and he David Sloan was a solid tight end, huge and made some big plays. Corey was basically our version of Mike Alstott and I don't think we'll ever be able to replace him. Boyd was an enforcer at MLB; that guy could flat out play and hit. If he would have stayed healthy, he would have been right up in the Chris Spielman class.
As much as I loved that draft class, I have something more recent in mind.
I have to say that 2009 was the best drafts the Lions had ever had. This is when we brought in Stafford, Pettigrew, Delmas, Levy, Sammy Hill and Zack Follett. Zach might not have been the best starting LB we had but I would say he definitely panned out in a lot of useful ways for being are second to last 7th round pick! Remember how we actually had 4 picks in the 7th round that year! Obviously the verdict is still out on Stafford because of injuries. Pettigrew, despite his drops has actually turned into a very useful TE for us and might just be a breakout this year. Delmas has been solid since day 1 but obviously it's overshadowed by the lack of talent in our secondary. Levy was a pleasent surprise his rookie year and last year (when healthy) had some good games and could probably do better with an established SAM and WILL next to him. Sammie Hill is probably my favorite pick out of that draft. He was fairly decent his rookie year and was basically starting because he actually was better than anybody we had on the DL... that wasn't saying much that year. But this past year is what was crazy... all I kept reading about was how Hill showed up to camp and was an absolute animal and the coaches could tell after 2 minutes that he put in some serious work in the off season. Hill is an example of one of those players who won't make an immediate impact but has an A grade for potential. The only disappointment out of that draft is Derrick Williams. I swear nobody has good luck drafting players out of Penn State!
I know there were probably others that could make an argument but I'm looking at the BEST COMPLETE DRAFT and 2009 was successfull all the way down to the 7th round. With 9 total picks, 6 of them ended up being starters.
Anyone got anything better?