Not all regret is about bad picks
Initially my intent was to do an article of the top 10 ‘buyer regret’ moves in Detroit Lions history. Unfortunately, that was such a big task in itself that I chose to go with the top five, but that was almost as big of a project due to the overwhelming amount of missteps this franchise has made.
That was when I decided to narrow it way down to first-round draft picks only, which tend to be the most disappointing when they don’t work out because that always hinders the future of a team.
Some of the ‘buyer regret’ picks weren’t necessarily bad picks, but when you consider what you missed out on, they certainly lose their luster. Like in 1985 when the Lions selected Lomas Brown with the sixth overall pick. Brown was a very good tackle that ranks with some of the best blockers in Lions history, however, they could have had Jerry Rice, who was snatched up by San Francisco at pick No. 16.
Or perhaps we think of Keith Dorney, another outstanding tackle that also played guard for the Lions at a very high level who the Lions selected 10th overall in 1979. Yet three picks later at number 13 the Chargers snagged one of the best tight ends in NFL history, Kellen Winslow.
There was Luther Bradley in 1978 when the Lions could have had either receiver John Jefferson or tight end Ozzie Newsome or Chris Claiborne in 1999 when defensive end Jevon Kearse was available or even 2018 when instead of Frank Ragnow, Lamar Jackson was still on the board.
Not all the regrets come from picking bad players, although there are plenty of poor choices the Lions have made to choose from. The biggest guideline I tried to use for the most part was the ratio of how much of a bust the player the Lions selected was compared to another first-round pick from that same draft they could have chosen instead.
Although in some instances I strayed a little from the formula, but hey, this my list so I can do that. Just like you can bend the rules however you want for yours.
So with that in mind, since we are now officially in the post-Christmas gift return/exchange season, we will count down the top seven, because I just couldn’t narrow the list down to five, ‘buyer regret’ first-round draft picks in Detroit Lions history since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970.