What Is Lions' Best Draft Class This Century?


In Detroit, the NFL Draft is the Lions' Super Bowl. 

It's all about hope. Because if the Lions ever do build a winner, the draft is how they'll do it.

Bob Quinn just oversaw his fifth draft as Lions GM, and it may have been his last. He hasn't hit on enough of his picks to turn Detroit's fortunes around. So far, his 2018 class looks like his best, featuring Frank Ragnow in the first round, Kerryon Johnson in the second and Tracy Walker in the third. Fourth-rounder D'Shawn Hand has made an impact as well.

Is that Detroit's best draft this century? It's still a little early to say. 

Ultimately it might not compare to the team's 2013 class. That one, according to CBS Sports, is the Lions' best since 2000:
The Lions successfully hit on each of their first three picks in 2013, when they acquired 2015 Pro Bowl defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, three-time Pro Bowl defensive back Darius Slay, and three-time Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford. Detroit also found late-round value in punter Sam Martin and running back Theo Riddick. Each of these players played significant roles in the Lions' playoff seasons in 2014 and in 2016.

It was a good draft, no doubt. But it bears mention that all of Warford's Pro Bowl appearances have come during his time with the Saints. And after the trade of Darius Slay this offseason, none of the members of that nine-player class remain with the Lions. 

Still, kudos to then-GM Martin Mayhew for putting Detroit in position for success. 

1st round, 5th overall: DE Ezekiel Ansah

2nd round, 36th overall: CB Darius Slay

3rd round,  65th overall: G Larry Warford

4th round, 132nd overall: DE Devin Taylor

5th round, 165th overall: P Sam Martin

6th round, 171st overall: WR Corey Fuller 

6th round, 199th overall: RB Theo Riddick

7th round, 211th overall: TE Michael Williams

7th round, 245th overall: LB Brandon Hepburn