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
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2. LB Jarrad Davis: First Round, No. 21 overall in 2017

In his second draft as Lions' general manager, coming off a playoff appearance, Quinn used a top-25 pick on Davis. For the first two years, as he posted 96 and 100 total tackles respectively with six sacks in his second season, it didn't look bad.

But then Davis struggled in 2019, and his role was reduced in 2020 as he battled injuries both seasons. He left for the New York Jets in 2021 free agency, then he was brought back to Detroit in 2022 before the New York Giants signed him off their practice squad late in that season.

The rest of the first round in 2017 doesn't cry out that the Lions missed on a bunch of good players by taking Davis. But there is one who really stands out.

The Pittsburgh Steelers took outside linebacker T.J. Watt 30th overall in the 2017 draft. So the Lions were not the only team who missed on him. But all he's done is earn six Pro Bowl selections and lead the league in sacks in three of the last four seasons. He tied the single-season NFL record for sacks with 22.5 in 2021, on his way to winning Defensive Player of the Year.

The timing of the big contract Watt got, four years, $112 million in September of 2021, may not have aligned well with the Lions' current roster build as we know it came to be. But he would have been a nice building block to have in place, and on the idea he would have wanted to stay in Detroit he'd be nice to have around now.