Detroit Lions: 15 greatest draft-day steals of all-time

Darius Slay, Detroit Lions. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Darius Slay, Detroit Lions. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
5 of 16
Herman Moore, Detroit Lions
Herman Moore, Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman/Allsport /

Herman Moore is easily one of the greatest wide receivers in Lions history and arguably a very underrated one of his era. Drafted No. 10 overall in the 1991 NFL Draft out of Virginia, Moore played 11 of his 12 NFL seasons in the Honolulu blue and silver. His prime coincided with the peak years of the Barry Sanders era in Motown.

In 11 years with the Lions, Moore made four straight Pro Bowls from 1994 to 1997, including three straight First-Team All-Pro nods from 1995 to 1997. Yes, he was overshadowed by Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receivers in the league like Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Jerry Rice. Of course, it was Sanders who the Lions’ best player at this time.

But let’s not forget how important Moore was to the overall health of the Lions offense in the 1990s. In each Pro Bowl season, Moore was well over 1,000 yards receiving and approached 10 touchdown grabs. During his three First-Team All-Pro seasons, Moore had over 100 receptions, too.

From 1992 to 1998, Moore was within 100 yards of 1,000 every season. He finished his Lions career with 670 catches for 9,174 yards and 62 touchdowns. Until the arrival of Calvin Johnson in 2007, one could make the case that Moore was the greatest receiving talent to ever play for the Lions.

So why is Moore considered a draft-day steal, given how highly touted he was coming out of Virginia in 1991? Well, Moore arguably had the best career of any player taken in the top-10 of the 1991 NFL Draft. Though guys like Russell Maryland and Eric Turner made Pro Bowls, Moore made four and was the only multi-time First-Team All-Pro of the bunch.

Even though he was the first wide receiver off the board in that spring’s draft, one could argue that he ended up being the third best player taken in that draft. To date, only two players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from the 1991 NFL Draft class. Those two guys would be Brett Favre (No. 33 overall to the Atlanta Falcons) and Aeneas Williams (No. 59 to the then-Phoenix Cardinals).

Yes, there were other multi-time Pro Bowlers taken after Moore at No. 10 besides Favre and Williams. Three of note include Ricky Watters (No. 45 to the San Francisco 49ers), Ben Coates (No. 124 to the New England Patriots) and Keenan McCardell (No. 326 to the Washington Redskins). However, none were as dominant for his original team as Moore was for the Lions.

Although Moore is a prime candidate to forever remain in the Hall of Very Good, he remains the most valuable pick in the first round of the 1991 NFL Draft. With only Favre and Williams’ certainly had a better NFL careers, getting arguably the third best player at the end of the day in that draft is of tremendous value. Therefore, classifying him as a draft-day steal is merited.