Over the course of their long history, the list of players who have been a disappointment for the Detroit Lions is also long. Such is life when you haven't won championship since 1957, a playoff game since 1991 and a division title since 1993. There's simply a trail of disappointing players in the wake of the struggle.
But on the flip side, there are players the Lions gave up on too soon as they went on to have long careers, win Super Bowl rings, etc. It's hard to say any would have drastically changed the team's losing fate over the years on their own. But there is no such thing as too many good players, and bad decisions from Lions' executives are just as easy to list (and correlate to) players who wound up being disappointments or busts and were give up on too soon. Some candidates simply had prime years left when the Lions bailed on them.
For some Lions' fans, D'Andre Swift and Jeff Okudah are destined to land on this kind of list in a few years after they were traded this offseason. Some may even want to put them here now, but let's not get there before they even take a snap for their new team.
Here are four players the Lions gave up on too soon. A huge hat-tip to the SideLion Report Facebook page for some great ideas, and confirmation of who belonged, when I posed the question.