Barring any trades, the Lions’ first selection of the 2016 NFL Draft will come as the 16th pick of the first round. Over the past ten drafts, this spot has seen the selection of one quarterback, one offensive guard, one defensive tackle, two defensive ends, two linebackers, and three cornerbacks. Though these players were all highly regarded coming out of college, they have found varying levels of success since entering the NFL.
2015: Kevin Johnson, CB, Houston Texans
Kevin Johnson appeared in all 17 games for the Texans in 2015, playing mostly as the nickel corner. He totaled 54 tackles, nine pass break-ups and one interception during his rookie season, picking off Tennessee’s Zach Mettenberger. Johnson underwent surgeries on both his wrist and foot during the offseason, but is on track to be ready for the start of the 2016 season.
2014: Zack Martin, OG, Dallas Cowboys
Though Zack Martin was a tackle in college, he was drafted by the Cowboys to play right guard. He has excelled since entering the NFL, and was voted to the Pro Bowl in both 2014 and 2015. Martin has started every game for the Cowboys over the past two seasons, and has been a key component of one of the league’s top offensive lines. He was selected as a member of the AP All-Pro first team following his rookie season.
2013: EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills
The Bills made EJ Manuel the first quarterback to be taken in the 2013 draft after trading the eighth pick to the Rams, who selected Tavon Austin. Manuel was the Bills’ top quarterback in 2013, starting every game when healthy. However, he was benched four games into 2014 in favor of Kyle Orton, and Manuel only saw the field in 2015 when new starter Tyrod Taylor was injured. Manuel has thrown for 3,371 yards, 19 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his career and has also rushed for four scores.
2012: Quinton Coples, DE, New York Jets
Quinton Coples was drafted as a defensive end, but was moved to a 3-4 outside linebacker position by the Jets. He appeared in 46 games between 2012 and 2014, making 103 tackles and recording 16.5 sacks. Coples never found consistent success in New York, and was waived in November 2015; he was then claimed by the Dolphins and was released again at the end of the year. Coples will play with the Rams in 2016, where he is expected to move back to defensive end.
2011: Ryan Kerrigan, LB, Washington Redskins
When the Jaguars traded up to select Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 Draft, the 16th pick fell into the hands of the Redskins, who selected Ryan Kerrigan. Since entering the NFL, Kerrigan has been a monster, and he has started every single game for Washington despite dealing with injuries. During the past five seasons, Kerrigan has made 289 total tackles and 47.5 sacks, while forcing 17 fumbles and scoring two touchdowns.
2010: Derrick Morgan, LB, Tennessee Titans
Just four games into his rookie season in Tennessee, Derrick Morgan tore his ACL and missed the rest of the year. He appeared in all but two games for the Titans over the next four seasons, but suffered another injury in 2015 and missed the last six games of the season. Morgan has tallied 215 tackles and 27.5 sacks during his career, and he will slide back into the outside linebacker position in 2016 when healthy.
2009: Larry English, DE, San Diego Chargers
Larry English appeared in all 16 games during his rookie season with the Chargers, but has only made a total of ten starts during his career. He struggled to impress during his time in San Diego and was released before the 2014 season. English appeared in 12 games for the Buccaneers in 2014, but did not play in the NFL in 2015. English has recorded 103 tackles and 12 sacks in his career.
2008: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has played for four teams in eight seasons in his career, and has been successful at almost every stop, aside from a rough season in Philadelphia. He has been selected to two Pro Bowls, and has been on the losing end of Super Bowls with both the Cardinals and the Broncos. Rodgers-Cromartie is currently a member of the Giants and has a career stat line of 342 tackles, 123 pass break-ups, 24 interceptions and six touchdowns.
2007: Justin Harrell, DT, Green Bay Packers
Injuries set the tone for Justin Harrell’s NFL career from the beginning, as they caused him to miss the starts of both the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Harrell sat out the entire 2009 season with an injured back and tore his ACL during the very first game of 2010. Harrell was released during the next offseason after playing just 14 games with the Packers.
2006: Jason Allen, CB, Miami Dolphins
Jason Allen appeared in all but one game from 2006 to 2009 for the Dolphins, but only made 12 total starts. After being released by Miami in 2010, Allen played 27 games between Houston and Cincinnati during the next three seasons. He again failed to make a significant impression and was released in April 2013 with career totals of 247 tackles, 34 pass break-ups and 15 interceptions over eight seasons.