Detroit Lions NFL Draft Countdown: 31 Days

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Join us each day as we count down towards the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The countdown runs from 50 to zero and the number of days remaining will inspire the post for that day. Think of this as your NFL draft paper chain that loses one link each day!

My writing process for these countdown posts has typically began with scanning through the Lions draft history to pull out the name of each player that the organization has selected with the overall pick number that corresponds to the number of days remaining until the 2011 draft. So, with 31 days remaining here is the list of Lions picks at number 31 overall:

Lloyd Wickett (1943), Art Murakowski (1950)

My pondering of what the 31st pick represents lead me to conclude that the Lions lack of history with the pick fits perfectly for what the franchise has been.

The Lions had their championship heyday in the fifties and their bottom feeding existence in the aughts. In between was mostly a whole bunch of mediocrity. Sometimes they would break through for a playoff berth, sometimes they would fall back with a disappointing season but they would generally be hanging within a game or two of the .500 mark for the season. That is exactly how an organiztion avoids picking at number 31 overall for 60 years.

Since the Houston Texans entered the league, the 31st pick has gone to the Super Bowl loser. Before that it went to the Super Bowl champion. The pick became the first pick in the second round when the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars began play. From 1976 to 1994 the 31st pick went to the third worst team from the year before as their second round selection. Even at the time of the merger the 31st pick was just the fifth pick in the second round.

In the totality of the Detroit Lions mediocrity they have been able to avoid being so bad as to receive the 31st pick overall when it fell in the second round and have avoided progressing to the point of Super Bowl contender now that the picks falls at the end of the first round. Here’s to hoping that changes.

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