3 first-round mistakes that continue to haunt the Detroit Lions

Brad Holmes has a nice draft record as the Lions' GM, but these three first-round mistakes by the previous regime still haunt the franchise to some extent.

Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
1 of 3

Moving toward his fourth draft as Detroit Lions' general manager, Brad Holmes has built a very good track record and there's no greater proof than the team going from 3-13-1 in 2021 to the NFC Championship Game in 2023. No general manager has a 100 percent hit rate in the draft, but Holmes has done very well.

The Lions have certainly had plenty of first-round draft busts over their history, and some may want to put one of Holmes' first-rounders (Jameson Williams) in that bucket already; after two less than ideal, truncated seasons.

Making a list with a negative connotation is harder to do for the Lions these days than it used to be. As drafts get further into the past and those players cycle out in favor of replacements, mistakes just don't linger to hamper the team's prospects.

"Haunt" is a big word to use, but these three first-round draft mistakes still linger a little bit for the Lions.

3 first-round mistakes that still haunt the Detroit Lions

3. TE T.J. Hockenson: First Round, No. 8 overall in 2019

Former Lions' general manager Bob Quinn triggered the positional value truthers (sound familiar?) by taking a tight end in the top-10 overall in 2019. While Hockenson proved too expensive to keep around on a second contract before Holmes' rebuild was all the way done, he was solid over three-plus seasons before being traded to the Vikings at the 2022 deadline.

This one is more about current roster needs and who was drafted after Hockenson than a strict indictment of picking him.

Brian Burns went No. 16 overall to the Carolina Panthers, and Montez Sweat went to Washington at No. 26. Both have proven worthy of big contracts (Sweat has gotten his, after being traded to the Bears; Burns is lined up to get one in March), so that could be a thing for the Lions now. But either one of those guys paired with Aidan Hutchinson would look pretty good.