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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1. OT Lomas Brown

Brown became one of the best left tackles in the NFL, however underappreciated, after being drafted sixth overall by the Lions in the 1985 draft. He earned six straight Pro Bowl selections from 1990-1995), with a First Team All-Pro nod in that last year he spent in Detroit.

Brown was getting a little bit up in years though in the mid 90's, and he signed a three-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals in 1996 free agency. He extended his streak to six straight Pro Bowls his first year in Arizona, and went on to start 98 games over the next six seasons for three teams (Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants). He played 11 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final season of his career (2002), capping his career with a Super Bowl ring.

Replacing a top-tier left tackle who you think is aging out is never easy, and it's often better to be a year early to cut bait than a year too late. The Lions failed to replace Brown at all well until they drafted Jeff Backus in 2001. Turns out Brown had some solid years left in his career, even if they weren't Pro Bowl-worthy years, into his late 30's.

Brown was finally inducted into the Lions' Ring of Honor last season, and he of course stands as one of the greatest players in franchise history even if he didn't have that honor. But his tenure became shorter than it should have been, for whatever reasons, when he was allowed to leave in free agency.


Next. Ranking the Detroit Lions' last 10 first-round picks. Ranking the Detroit Lions' last 10 first-round picks. dark