The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching. In 15 days Roger Goodell will take the stage and announce the Detroit Lions first round draft pick.
Since today’s post is all about history, let’s go back in time and have a little history lesson. The NFL draft has been around since February 8th, 1936. That day the Philadelphia Eagles became the first team to draft a player with their selection of University of Chicago running back Jay Berwanger. Interestingly enough, Berwanger was the first player to ever win the Heisman trophy as well.
The Detroit Lions also made their first ever first round selection that day too. With the 8th pick, the Lions took Michigan State guard Sid Wagner. Wagner stuck around with the Lions for two years. Then he retired to become an engineer instead. I think that says an awful lot about the type of pay these guys used to get back in these days. In what is a pretty interesting read by author Michael K. Bohn, he found that 2nd overall selection Riley Smith played with the Boston Redskins for $250 a game with a bonus.
Since 1936 the Lions have had a total of 80 first round selections.Some have panned out and others have obviously not. If you’re curious, this will be the fourth time in franchise history that the Lions will have the 16th selection. I outlined those picks and much more random stats on the 16th pick in an article last month. It hasn’t gone so well for the Lions at that spot.
What brought me to this article today was the initial desire to break down every first round pick the Lions have ever made. But then I realized that I have life and anyone who read through that entire piece would likely want to throttle someone afterwards. Probably me. S o what I decided to do was breakdown the Lions first round selections that have occurred in my lifetime over the last 30 years. I wanted to see just how bad or jut how good these picks have been. I also wanted to see how those picks changed as the Lions changed their GM five times.
Next: The 80's