Detroit Lions: 15 best first-round draft picks of all-time

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Back when the Lions were playing outdoors at Tiger Stadium in the elements, it was important to be able to pound the rock with conviction to achieve gridiron success. One player who was able to help the Lions out of the backfield in the late 1960s and early 1970s was running back Mel Farr.

Nicknamed “Mel Farr Superstar”, Detroit took the talented tailback out of UCLA with the No. 7 overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft. Farr was a two-time First-Team All-Pac-8 player and a consensus All-American during the 1966 NCAA season. He would have immediate success with the Lions during his rookie campaign in 1967.

Farr would be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and make his first of two career trips to the Pro Bowl. That season, Farr rushed 860 yards on 206 carries for three touchdowns. As a pass catcher that year, Farr had 39 receptions for 317 yards and three more touchdowns. He would make his second Pro Bowl in 1970, when he rushed for 717 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns.

Farr would retire in 1974 after he was traded in the offseason to the Houston Oilers. In his NFL career, Farr had 739 carries for 3,072 yards and 26 touchdowns. As a receiver, he had an additional 146 receptions for 1,374 yards and 10 touchdowns.