DETROIT – The sports world has come to a halt except for the NFL, which is moving through its offseason business as usual. Next on the calendar is the NFL Draft, where the Detroit Lions are waiting with the third overall pick. The last time the Lions were in the top 5 picks was 2013, when the team picked Ezekiel Ansah. Third is the Lions highest pick since 2010 when they picked Ndamukong Suh second overall.
It’s been a while since the Lions have picked this high, so let’s look back and see what the third overall pick has been in recent years.
Here’s the last six third overall picks in the NFL Draft.
2019: New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The Jets decided to go with a conservative pick at defensive line. WIlliams didn’t do much his rookie season but still has plenty of potential – and time – to show he was worth the number three pick.
The Lions could take this approach in the draft by picking a player like Derrick Brown, DT from Auburn.
2018: New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
New York went the QB route in 2018 taking Sam Darnold after having Josh McCown and Bryce Petty as starters the year before. Lions fans will remember Darnold threw an interception on his first career pass which was against the Lions – before leading the Jets to a comeback win. Darnold improved on his rookie year this past season posting better numbers across the board with new coach Adam Gase.
2017: San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Thomas was expected to bolster the 49ers pass rush, but he hasn’t made much of an impact so far. For example: the 49ers Nick Bosa has more sacks in one season than Thomas has in three seasons. Thomas has been pushed to the bench, and the 49ers were reportedly looking to trade him.
2016: Los Angeles Chargers: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
This is a home run pick that any team picking in the top three would be happy with as Bosa has been one the NFL’s best pass rushers. If the Lions could pick a Joey Bosa in this draft they would. Detroit is hoping Chase Young could be there for them and be that type of player.
2015: Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
Fowler’s career got off to a rough start as he tore his ACL before playing in a single game his rookie year. He wasn’t a starter for Jacksonville, who traded him in his second season to the Los Angeles Rams.
2014: Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Bortles was Jacksonville’s QB for a few years before getting dumped and signed by the LA Rams to back up Jared Goff. Bortles’ best year was when Jacksonville went to the AFC Championship – but he’s never been a game changer, instead he’s been a game manager. If Jacksonville could do this draft over again, they’d probably pick Khalil Mack.