The 23rd Pick: A 20-Year History

(Ed. note: bumped to the front page.)

Now that the actual playing of football is over, it is time to really get serious about what the NFL is really all about -- the Draft! Sorry guys, it is hard to overcome over 40 years of conditioning from being a life-long Lions fan.

I wanted to take a few moments and break down the last 20 years of the 23rd pick in the draft. 54fighting presented a FanPost listing the picks and their accomplishments over the last 12 years, but I wanted to dig a little deeper. So here is the skinny on the twenty-third pick in the draft since 1992.


Six offensive linemen (three OGs, two OTs, one C); five defensive backs (all CBs); four RBs; three defensive linemen (2 DEs, 1 DT]; and one WR and LB. No QB, TE, or S.

And what are Lions fans hoping for this draft? Yeah, an O-lineman or a CB. Funny how that works out, eh? The last three years have been tackle, tackle, and guard. Interestingly, the two tackles taken (Michael Oher and Bryan Bulaga) were left tackles in college, but now look to be right tackles in the NFL.


I found four trades at the No. 23 spot. In 2009, the Pats traded down with the Ravens, who took Oher.

In 2005, Seattle traded down with Oakland, who took CB Fabian Washington.

In 2003, Atlanta gave the pick to Buffalo for WR Peerless Price. The Bills took RB Willis McGahee.

In 2000, Miami traded the pick to Carolina for the Panthers' 1998 second-round pick. The Panthers took CB Rashard Anderson.

So, not many trades (20%) but they came in a bunch.


I broke this down based on the players' accomplishments since being picked. I eliminated the last three years because I think it is too early to tell for Bulaga, Oher, and Danny Watkins. The ratings are my opinion only.

Outstanding to good - Seven - WR Dwayne Bowe, RB Willis McGahee, RB Deuce McAllister, CB Antoine Winfield, OG/C Jeff Hartings, CB Ty Law, and RB Rashard Mendenhall.

Ty Law and Antoine Winfield were the best of the bunch with Jeff Hartings a little ways behind them. Deuce could have been the best of them all if he hadn't been injured so much.

Mediocre - Five - OG Davin Joseph, RB Antowain Smith, LB Napoleon Harris, DE Chris Mims, and CB Fabian Washington.

I would not call any of these guys good. Some had their moments, but overall they did not produce like first-round picks.

Lousy - Five - DT Marcus Tubbs (knee injury), CB Rashard Anderson (drugs), OG Mo Collins, DE Shante Carver, and CB Deon Figures. The last three guys just plain stunk.

So let's say a 40% success rate. Not bad. Nothing like the quality of the picks at No. 13, where the Lions picked last year, but that is what I would suspect.


I did this with the No. 13 pick last year and found the same results. Guys picked here either started most of the season or were key rotational players. If you look at the O-line players in particular, here is what you will see:

OG/C Jeff Hartings started 10 games as a rookie for Detroit and then pretty much every game after that.

OG Mo Collins of the Raiders started 11 games as a rookie and most of the next two seasons before flaming out.

OG Davin Joseph of Tampa Bay started 12 games as a rookie and everything since.

OT Michael Oher of the Ravens started every game his first year and every game since.

OT Bryan Bulaga started 12 games in year one and looks to be the starter for life in Green Bay.

OG Danny Watkins of the Eagles started 14 games this past season.

So, this pretty much tells me that if the Lions pick an O-lineman in round one, he will start most of the games if not every one of them. Let me make this clear, pretty well anyone picked in the first round is picked to play right away, not to sit on the bench. If the player is not starting, it is because he is not good enough to do the job.

Overall Outlook - To me, the 23rd pick looks like a spot where teams had a lot of leeway in the position they could take, as you could probably snag the best guard or center if you wanted or the third or fourth best tackle. Depending on the quality of the players, you might get the second to fourth best CB or the second or third best RB. Of course, when I say best, I mean consensus before the draft opinion. Obviously it probably rarely worked out that way.

I hope this review opens up some debate as to what the Lions might do with their pick, although the Lions and Martin Mayhew are not interested in what other teams have done at pick No. 23 in past years. (IMO.)

Any comments or questions will be happily responded to.

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This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.