4 draft picks the Detroit Lions gave up on too soon

There aren't many obvious ones, but here are four draft picks the Detroit Lions gave up on a bit too soon.
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3. LB Kyle Van Noy

Van Noy was a second-round draft pick (No. 40 overall) of the Lions back in 2014. He didn't last three full seasons before being traded to the New England Patriots. Unsurprisingly, at the time, New England got far better production out of him over his three-plus seasons there.

Van Noy has remained an effective and versatile linebacker over the last several years, with the Miami Dolphins, back with the Patriots, and on to the Los Angeles Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens. He has posted at least five sacks in five straight seasons, including a career-high nine sacks last season for the Ravens as he worked more as a sheer pass rusher. And he was quite good, as Pro Football Focus graded him as their 32nd best edge rusher last season (75.0 overall grade; 77.2 pass rush grade-25th best).

On the current Lions, Van Noy would look pretty nice as a capable veteran edge rusher with a couple Super Bowl rings. But they could have had him for longer initially, and his career resume speaks for itself. The huge and obvious caveat is that it's quite possible his career would not be as long as its has been had he stayed in Detroit longer than he did.

2. S Quandre Diggs

The Lions found a real draft steal in Diggs, in the sixth round of the 2015 draft. He became a full-time starter in his third year, and he started 27 games over the following two seasons with six interceptions, 17 pass breakups and 133 tackles over that span.

But Diggs was someone who didn't blindly fall in line with Patricia's ways, so he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks during the 2019 season. He intercepted three passes for Seattle over five games with them to finish that season, then earned three straight Pro Bowl nods from 2020-2022. His overall performance fell off last season (87th-graded safety by PFF, out of 95 qualifiers, but he set a career-high with 95 tackles.

The Lions could be in the market for a veteran safety, which has fostered the idea of a return to Detroit for Diggs. Time will tell if if happens, but it quickly became clear that Patricia's pettiness cost the Lions a good player in their secondary.