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Reviewing the Lions' 2010 draft class

A look back at the Detroit Lions' 2010 NFL Draft class.

Jeff Zelevansky

Before the 2013 NFL Draft arrives, Pride Of Detroit is taking a look back at Martin Mayhew's past drafts as general manager of the Detroit Lions. Next up is a review of the Lions' 2010 NFL Draft class.

Round 1, No. 2 - DT Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)

Mayhew's second draft as general manager of the Lions began with a no-brainer of a pick. Suh was considered the best player in this draft after wreaking havoc at Nebraska, and the only reason he didn't go No. 1 overall is because the St. Louis Rams needed a quarterback (Sam Bradford). Say what you want about Suh's discipline issues on and off the field, but he has been a dominant player and has already been named to two Pro Bowls. In fact, he is the only player drafted by Mayhew who has been named to the Pro Bowl.

Round 1, No. 30 - RB Jahvid Best (California)

The Lions moved back into the first round to take Best, who was seen as the answer to their problems at running back. He showed a lot of flashes of potential in his rookie season despite dealing with toe injuries, and he showed even more potential in his first six games in 2011. Unfortunately, Best only played in six games in 2011, and he hasn't played at all since then due to issues with a concussion. He suffered one in the 2011 preseason and another just a couple months later, and he still hasn't been cleared to return. Chances are we've seen the last of Best in the NFL.

Round 3, No. 66 - S Amari Spievey (Iowa)

Spievey was drafted as a cornerback out of Iowa, but he quickly moved to safety and became a starter for the Lions. While his play was inconsistent at times in his first two seasons, he made 24 total starts and had 5 interceptions. He ended up losing his starting job last summer after missing much of the offseason training program because of concussion issues of his own. He ended up regaining his starting job, but another concussion ended his season early. He re-signed with the Lions this offseason and has been cleared to return from his most recent concussion, but an arrest in March has left his status with the team a bit up in the air.

Round 4, No. 128 - OT Jason Fox (Miami FL)

Continuing with the injury theme, Fox had his first two seasons in the NFL derailed by knee problems. He was active for four games in 2010, but he didn't dress once in 2011 and ended up on injured reserve. In 2012, Fox was active for only one game, but he was able to stay healthy for the entire season. This year, he is expected to compete for a starting spot at left or right tackle.

Round 7, No. 213 - DE Willie Young (North Carolina State)

After dressing for only two games in his rookie season, Young burst onto the scene in 2011, recording 3.0 sacks in 14 games. He was viewed as a possible breakout player in 2012, but he took a step back and came up empty in the sack department. Now, with the Lions losing Cliff Avril and releasing Kyle Vanden Bosch, Young is expected to take on a larger role at defensive end.

Round 7, No. 255 - WR Tim Toone (Weber State)

Toone, who was Mr. Irrelevant for the 2010 draft, was unable to make the Lions' 53-man roster as a rookie. He was signed to the practice squad, but a broken leg landed him on injured reserve. The following season, he spent time on the practice squads of the Lions, Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos. Last year, Toone joined the Atlanta Falcons and spent some time on their 53-man roster, and he is still with them.

2010 by the numbers

Of the Lions' six picks in 2010, five are still on the roster. Toone, the only player not with the Lions, is still in the NFL, so everybody in this draft class is currently on an NFL roster. Of the five picks still in Detroit, Suh is the only starter. Best, of course, was a starter before his career was essentially put on hold by concussion issues. The same could be said about Spievey, who started quite a bit before his own concussion issues. He will likely be in a backup role this year if he makes the team. As for Fox and Young, they have both been backups in the past, but they could be called upon to start in 2013.


The Lions completed the following trades (picks are for 2010 draft unless otherwise noted):

  • Traded 34th (second round), 100th (fourth round) and 214th (seventh round) picks to Vikings for 30th (first round) and 128th (fourth round) picks. The Lions used those two picks to take Jahvid Best and Jason Fox.
  • Traded 133rd pick (fifth round) and Robert Henderson to Seahawks for 213th pick (seventh round) and Rob Sims. The Lions used that pick to take Willie Young.
  • Traded Ernie Sims to Eagles in three-team deal; received 220th pick (seventh round) and Tony Scheffler from Broncos. The Lions traded that pick to the Eagles in a separate deal for the 186th pick (sixth round) in 2011, and that pick was used in a separate deal to acquire Alphonso Smith from the Broncos.
  • Traded 174th pick (sixth round) in 2009 to Broncos for 146th pick (fifth round) and 235th pick (seventh round) in 2009. The Lions used the fifth-round pick in 2010 to acquire Corey Williams and the 214th pick (seventh round; later traded to Vikings) from the Browns; the seventh-round pick in 2009 was used to take Zack Follett.
  • Traded 171st pick (sixth round) and 210th pick (seventh round) in 2011 to Falcons for Chris Houston.
  • Traded 209th pick (seventh round) to Bills for Ko Simpson.
What did they get?

The Lions once again nailed their first-round pick by getting a Pro Bowler in Suh. The 2010 draft class hasn't provided the Lions with much beyond him, though. Best is probably done playing football because of concussions, which were a concern for him coming out of California. Spievey now has his own concussion concerns, and he probably won't be anything more than a backup going forward, just like Fox and Young have been nothing more than backups so far in their careers. Finally, Toone is obviously no longer on the team, but considering he was the final pick of the draft, it's pretty good that he is still in the NFL.

In addition to the picks they actually made, the Lions dealt several 2010 selections for players. They ended up acquiring Rob Sims, Corey Williams, Chris Houston and Ko Simpson for picks in this draft, and Sims and Houston are the Lions' top players at their respective positions (offensive guard and cornerback). Simpson only spent one season in Detroit, but Williams was another solid acquisition, as he ended up being a three-year starter (when healthy) for the Lions.


For those keeping score at home, the Lions have only one player from this draft class who we know will be a starter in 2013. That's not a very good average, but the emergence of Fox and Young could obviously change how we view this draft class. If they cement themselves as starters in 2013, this draft class won't look quite as bad as it does right now. If they don't, on the other hand, the Lions could be looking at a situation where Suh ended up being the only long-term starter from their 2010 draft class.

The saving grace for the Lions' 2010 draft is how they used some of their picks in trades. Their actual picks haven't been great in part because of concussions and other injuries, but the Lions did a really nice job of turning picks into starters via trades. Williams was a big part of their turnaround, and Sims and Houston are still starters. As things stand right now, Mayhew looks to have failed with his actual selections, but because of how he used other picks in trades, the 2010 draft was far from a complete disaster.

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