Through their long history, how many Hall of Famers have the Detroit Lions drafted?
The Detroit Lions have drafted players every year since 1936, the year of the very first NFL Draft. There have been plenty of misses, and some hits. Which begs the question, how many Pro Football Hall of Famers have the Lions drafted?
The most recent former Lion to earn Hall of Fame induction was wide receiver Calvin Johnson, in the 2021 class. He was the second overall pick by Detroit in the 2007 NFL Draft, so there’s one for the list. Barry Sanders, the third overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, is another Hall of Famer the Lions obviously drafted.
How many Hall of Famers have the Detroit Lions drafted?
Starting at the beginning, with the 1936 draft, here are the Hall of Famers the Detroit Lions have drafted.
1. C Alex Wojciechowicz (No. 6 overall, 1938; Hall of Fame class of 1968)
2. E (WR in today’s terms) Mac Speedie (No. 135 overall -15th round, 1942; Hall of Fame class of 2020)
3. QB Otto Graham (No. 4 overall, 1944; Hall of Fame class of 1965)
4. QB Y.A. Tittle (No. 6 overall, 1948; Hall of Fame class of 1971)
5. OG Dick Stanfel (No.19 overall, 1951; Hall of Fame class of 2016)
6. DB Jack Christiansen (No. 69 overall, 1951; Hall of Fame class of 1970)
7. DB Yale Lary (No. 34 overall, 1952; Hall of Fame class of 1979)
8. LB Joe Schmidt (No. 86 overall, 1953; Hall of Fame class of 1973)
9. DT Alex Karras (No. 10 overall, 1958; Hall of Fame class of 2020)
10. DB Johnny Robinson (No. 3 overall , 1960; Hall of Fame class of 2019)
11. WR Fred Biletnikoff (No. 39 overall, 1965; Hall of Fame class of 1988)
12. DB Lem Barney (No. 34 overall, 1967; Hall of Fame class of 1992)
13. TE Charlie Sanders, (No. 74 overall , 1968; Hall of Fame class of 2007)
14. RB Barry Sanders (No. 3 overall, 1989; Hall of Fame class of 2004)
15. WR Calvin Johnson, No. 2 overall, 2007; Hall of Fame class of 2021)
Graham, Tittle and Biletnikoff, three all-time greats the Lions drafted, never played a game for them.
In terms of future additions to this list of Hall of Famers the Lions have drafted, kicker Jason Hanson, offensive tackle Lomas Brown, running back Billy Sims, quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Herman Moore and defensive end Robert Porcher stand out.