Ranking the 5 best Lions draft classes of the past 30 years

Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon/Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon/Allsport /
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Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images /

We attempt to rank the five best and worst draft classes by the Detroit Lions in the past 30 years. Where did we go right? And where did it all go wrong?all go wrong?

We here at SideLion Report decided to rank the five best and worst draft classes the Detroit Lions have had over the past thirty years.

Today, read what I consider to be the best five Lions drafts in recent memory.

5. 2009 NFL Draft

Round Selections: (Overall Pick)

1st. Matthew Stafford: QB (1)
1st. Brandon Pettigrew: TE (20)
2nd. Louis Delmas: S (33)
3rd. DeAndre Levy: LB (76)
4th. Sammie Lee Hill: DT (115)
6th. Aaron Brown: RB (192)
7th. Lydon Murtha: T (228)
7th. Dan Gronkowski: TE (255)

Yes, it’s true that the 2009 Draft was one of the least successful in league history, particularly the first round. As you can see, however, the Lions got some key players, most importantly selecting quarterback Matthew Stafford. It may look like no-brainer now, but at the time, fans and analysts felt Detroit was reaching for Stafford instead of building the core of a team that was seriously devoid of talent after an 0-16 season in 2008.

After Stafford, the Lions grabbed Brandon Pettigrew, a player that was solid for a number of years — 301 catches for 2,965 receiving yards — just not quite the Jason Witten clone that he was billed to be. Safety, Louis Delmas, was a fan-favorite when he was healthy. His knees kept him from hitting his full potential but Delmas was an immediate upgrade in his rookie season.

One of the most overlooked picks of Martin Mayhew‘s first draft as Lions general manager was DeAndre Levy, the recently-released linebacker out of Wisconsin, selected in the third round. Levy did whatever Detroit asked him to do, playing both middle and outside linebacker at high levels.

The Lions also got solid contributions from Sammie Lee Hill and Aaron Brown at positions that previously had very little depth. Overall, this draft had several misses, but Detroit found the best quarterback they’ve ever had and a number of contributors — something fans weren’t accustomed after eight seasons of Matt Millen.