The point of the draft is to build championship teams
Every fan has their own opinion about whether the Lions have ever really won the draft or not. For some, they will point to the brilliance of Barry Sanders and say, ‘win or lose it was worth it to watch his greatness in Honolulu Blue for 10 seasons.’
Meanwhile, others say that because the very point of the draft is to build championship teams, the Lions have never truly won it, despite having put some talented players on the field for fans to enjoy.
The answer will always be subjective depending on what each fan holds as most important to themselves. Especially in Detroit where many fans value their favorite players more than the franchise itself.
This isn’t to say that having favorite players is wrong, but football is the ultimate team game. Great running backs don’t flourish without some help from the offensive line. Great quarterbacks can’t excel without receivers that catch the ball.
The secondary is always better when the defensive line pressures the opposing passer and that same defensive line needs the help of play-makers at linebacker to shut down the run and try to make their opponent one dimensional.
Favorite players, great players are something every fan should have, but without enough talent, team effort and good coaching, they become nothing more than standout players on mediocre to bad teams without hope of actually winning any titles.
In the midst of all that has come out about the riff between Calvin Johnson and the Lions, he admitted he probably wouldn’t have retired when he did if he thought they were on the verge of winning a championship.
Instead, Calvin was playing for the Lions who were spinning their wheels like they always seem to do and his body was telling him it was time to retire.
So I guess the only way to really know the answer for yourself whether the Lions have ever won the draft or not is how you would answer this scenario; Let’s say that the Lions drafted a charismatic, generational player who became the next Barry Sanders. As a fan, if you could choose to watch his brilliance for 12 years while the Lions continue to be the Lions or watch him lead Detroit to a Super Bowl championship in his second season then retire, which route would you go?
If you couldn’t let him go then you feel like you won the draft any time the Lions find a good player. If you’d be willing to forgo his brilliance in exchange for a championship, then you truly believe the Lions have never won the draft.
Despite how many outstanding players I have seen in a Lions uniform, the warm memories of great plays cool off quickly in the reality of this franchise having nothing to show for it. The reality that as Lions fans we haven’t been given the most precious gift any franchise can give their fans; a world championship.
These Lions have been rebuilding since 1957 when they last won it all and after another dismal season that ended 3-12-1 they don’t seem to be any closer to their next championship.
If general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia can turn this franchise around and win the Super Bowl, I will be happy to say they have ‘won’ the draft, but until then, as far as I’m concerned, you can’t win the draft without it eventually leading to at least becoming a legitimate contender if not championships.