Detroit Lions: The Best 30 Draft Picks in Franchise History

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Sep 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A view of a Detroit Lions helmet on the sidelines during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Lions won 39-35. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

12. Lomas Brown

First round, No. 6 overall, 1985

A great left tackle from the moment he was drafted out of Florida until he left Detroit 11 years later, Lomas Brown played with a timeless style that would make him equally effective in today’s NFL.

Brown played in the Golden Age of offensive tackles, overshadowed by several all-time greats and Hall of Famers. He was never quite that elite, but nonetheless widely respected by his peers and especially his teammates.

Brown made six Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team in his Detroit tenure. He left for Arizona in 1996 and was never quite the same player. He’s now a successful broadcaster but looks like he can still play even though he’s in his early 50s.

11. Doug English

Second round, No. 38 overall, 1975

A burly Texan who played with tenacity and a high football IQ, he spent a decade as the center of the Detroit defense. English made four Pro Bowls and earned an All-Pro nod in the strike-shortened 1982 season.

Injuries were an unfortunate part of his story; he missed the entire 1980 season, and his career was cut short with a bad neck injury. Still, he managed 59 sacks and is still tied for the all-time league lead in safeties, with four. He was an integral part of the Silver Rush defense.

He isn’t often cited as one of the Lions great players, perhaps because he played an unglamorous position. Older Lions fans know how valuable English was, and as a second-round pick he was a bright spot in a spotty draft for both the Lions and the league.

10. Al “Bubba” Baker

Second round, No. 40 overall, 1978

Baker was an instant hit with the up-and-down late 70s Lions. The 1978 Defensive Rookie of the Year, he was also a first-team All Pro as a rookie with 23 sacks. A powerful 6’6” defensive end from Colorado State, he was a dominating pass rusher in his five seasons in Detroit.

Unfortunately, Baker’s tenure in Detroit came before the NFL recognized sacks as an official total. The team website credits him for 75.5 in those five seasons, a freakish total.

Even though his Detroit tenure was short, Bubba was a great draft pick. Only one other player from the 1978 2nd round, Todd Christensen, ever made even one Pro Bowl.