Defining Moments in Detroit Lions History: Packers Select Mandarich

The 1988 Green Bay Packers were not a good running team. Their 3.6 yards per carry average ranked 24th out of the 28 teams that were in the league at that time. At 4-12, they weren’t much good at anything on the offensive side of the ball. Their defense managed 30 sacks on the year but their offensive line surrendered 51 of their own.

The Packers were “rewarded” with the second pick in the 1989 NFL draft for their “efforts” in 1988. The Dallas Cowboys used the first overall selection on Troy Aikman and the Green Bay Packers hit the clock with every other player available to them. The Packers chose former Michigan State offensive tackle Tony Mandarich, a player they believed could help their issues in the passing and running games.

The Detroit Lions subsequently picked Barry Sanders while the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons followed with Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders respectively. In a can’t-miss top five, the Packers selected the only one of the bunch that wouldn’t go on to put together a Hall of Fame career.

The rest is history.

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Tags: Barry Sanders Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Tony Mandarich

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