Looking back at the Detroit Lions first-round picks since 2000

Posted at 9:41 AM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 11:42:46-04

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2000 - Stockar McDougle - 20th pick - OT - Oklahoma

Detroit drafted McDougle to start the new millennium and he played in eight games his first season. He ended up staying with Detroit until 2004 and started all 16 games for the Lions in 2003 and 2004.

Detroit Lions head coach Bobby Ross, right, addresses reporters at a news conference introducing the Lions first round draft choice, Stockar McDougle, left, on Sunday, April 16, 2000 in Pontiac, Mich. The 6 foot 6 inch, 350 pound offensive tackle out of Oklahoma was the 20th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Paul Warner)

2001 - Jeff Backus - 18th pick - OT - Michigan

Backus, a Michigan alum and native, had a great career with Detroit. He started every game from 2001 through 2011 and 15 games in 2012 before retiring. He was on the 2001 all-rookie team.

Jeff Backus
Detroit Lions offensive tackle Jeff Backus (76) blocks against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2002 - Joey Harrington - 3rd pick - QB - Oregon

Harrington has always been a sore subject for Lions fans. He started 12 games in his rookie season and every game in the next two, but he never panned out. He was 18-37 in 55 games started for Detroit. He threw for 10,242 yards, 60 touchdowns and 62 interceptions.

Detroit Lions president and chief executive officer Matt Millen, left, and head coach Marty Mornhinweg, right, pose with the team's first-round draft pick, Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, Sunday, April 21, 2002, at the Lions practice facility in Allen Park, Mich. On Saturday, the Lions selected Harrington with the third pick of the draft. (AP Photo/Paul Warner)

2003 - Charles Rogers - 2nd pick - WR - Michigan State

Rogers came out of Michigan State and is from Saginaw. He only played in 15 games for Detroit over three seasons, starting nine of them, due to injuries and othef off-field issues including suspensions for the NFL substance abuse policy. He died at the age of 38 on Nov. 11, 2019, from liver failure after being diagnosed with cancer and in need of a transplant.

Charles Rogers, a wide receiver from Michigan State, holds up a Detroit Lions jersey after he was selected as the Lions first pick, second pick overall, at the NFL draft Saturday, April 26, 2003 in New York. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)

2004 - Roy Williams - 7th pick - WR - Texas

Roy Williams played 60 games for Detroit, catching 393 passes for 5,15 yards and 44 touchdowns. He went on to play for Dallas and Chicago before retiring in 2011.

Roy Williams, a wide receiver from Texas, holds a Detroit Loins jersey after being selected by the Loins as the seventh overall pick in the first round at the NFL draft Saturday, April 24, 2004 in New York. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)

2005 - Mike Williams - 10th pick - WR - USC

Mike Williams was the third straight receiver taken in the first round by GM Matt Millen. He played just two seasons in Detroit and 22 games. He caught 37 passes for 449 yards and two touchdowns before being traded before the 2007 Draft.

Detroit Lions wide receiver and the no.10 overall draft pick Mike Williams holds up a jersey during a news conference introducing Williams and second round draft pick Shaun Cody, at their training facility, on Sunday, April 24, 2005 in Allen Park, Mich. Williams and Cody both played for University of Southern California. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)

2006 - Ernie Sims - 9th pick - LB - Florida State

Sims played 59 games for Detroit and started 56 of them before joining three other teams. In his career, he had four forced fumbles, 421 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Rod Marinelli, Ernie Sims, Matt Millen
Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli, left, President and CEO Matt Millen, right, and first round draft pick Ernie Sims pose for a picture during a news conference introducing the Florida State University linebacker on Sunday, April 30, 2006 in Allen Park, Mich. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)

2007 - Calvin Johnson - 2nd pick - WR - Georgia Tech

A Hall of Famer and one of the two best draft picks ever made by Detroit, Johnson played nine seasons for the Lions before abruptly retiring in 2016. He had 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns. He broke the single-season receiving yard record in 2012 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in February 2021.

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson, a wide receiver from Georgia Tech, stands with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected second overall by the Detroit Lions during the first round of the NFL Draft Saturday, April 28, 2007 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

2008 - Gosder Cherilus - 17th pick - OL - Boston College

Cherilus started 13 games in his rookie season and started every game he appeared in for Detroit after through 2012. He joined Indianapolis after his time with Detroit and retired in 2017.

Matt Millen, Gosder Cherilus, Rod Marinelli
Detroit Lions' President and CEO Matt Millen, left, and Head Coach Rod Marinelli, right, welcome 2008 first-round pick Gosder Cherilus (77) to the team during a news conference at the Lions' headquarters and practice facility on Sunday, April 27, 2008 in Allen Park, Mich. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)

2009 - Matthew Stafford - 1st pick - QB - Georgia
2009 - Brandon Pettigrew - 20th pick - TE - Oklahoma State

Stafford joins Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders among the best Lions draft picks. He spent 12 seasons with the Lions, breaking several team records before being traded to the Los Angeles Rams before the 2021 season.

Detroit also traded up to get Pettigrew after sending Roy Williams to the Dallas Cowboys. He played seven seasons for the Lions and had 301 catches for 2,965 yards and 17 touchdowns.

2010 - Ndamukong Suh - 2nd pick - DT - Nebraska
2010 - Jahvid Best - 30th pick - RB - California

Suh was dominant during his time in Detroit, starting 78 games and quickly becoming one of the top players. He had 238 tackles, 66 tackles for loss, 36 sacks and 98 quarterback hits.

Detroit also traded up to get Best, who only played two seasons for the Lions due to concussion issues.

Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best, Jim Schwartz
Detroit Lions first round draft picks Jahvid Best, left, 30th overall, and Ndamukong Suh, second overall, display their jersey's along with head coach Jim Schwartz during an NFL football news conference in Allen Park, Mich., Friday, April 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2011 - Nick Fairley - 13th pick - DT - Auburn

Fairley seemed to be a surprise pick at the time for Detroit after getting Suh the year before. He played in 10 games his first season but started none, then started 30 games in the next three seasons. He had 98 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in his Detroit career. He joined St. Louis and then New Orleans before ending his career.

Nick Fairley, Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz
Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, from left, first-round draft pick Nick Fairley, and head coach Jim Schwartz pose at the team's headquarters in Allen Park, Mich., Friday, April 29, 2011. Fairley was selected 13th overall in the 2011 NFL draft. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2012 - Riley Reiff - 23rd pick - OT - Iowa

Reiff played in all 16 games his rookie year, and then started every game after his rookie season for Detroit through 2016. He joined Minnesota until 2020, and just signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in March.

Riley Reiff
Long-time Detroit Lions fan Keith O'Neill, right, of Warren, Mich, shakes hands with the Detroit Lions' first-round draft pick Riley Reiff, an offensive tackle from the Univesity of Iowa, after Reiff arrived at the team's NFL football training facility in Allen Park, Mich., Friday, April 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2013 - Ezekiel Ansah - 5th pick - DE - BYU

Ziggy Ansah was a star for Detroit, starting 73 of 80 games during his career. He had 48 sacks in Detroit before leaving after the 2018 season. He also had 218 tackles. He joined Seattle in 2019 but had injury issues, and then missed most of the 2020 season with the San Francisco 49ers.

Ezekiel Ansah
Ezekiel Ansah, the Detroit Lions first round draft pick, stands with his jersey before addressing the media at the team's training facility in Allen Park, Mich., Friday, April 26, 2013. Ansah, born and raised in Ghana, was selected fifth overall in the NFL draft on Thursday. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

2014 - Eric Ebron - 10th pick - TE - North Carolina

Ebron played four seasons for Detroit and caught 186 passes for 2,070 yards and 11 touchdowns. He joined Indianapolis after the 2017 season and the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.

Eric Ebron
Detroit Lions NFL football first-round draft choice, 10th overall, North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron speaks during a news conference in Allen Park, Mich., Friday, May 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2015 - Laken Tomlinson - 28th pick - OG - Duke

Tomlinson only played two seasons for Detroit, starting 24 of 32 games. He currently players for the San Francisco 49ers.

Laken Tomlinson
Laken Tomlinson stands on stage after being drafted 28th by the Detroit Lions during the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Chicago. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

2016 - Taylor Decker - 16th pick - OT - Ohio State

Decker came out as one of the better offensive linemen in the draft. He's started every game he played for Detroit since 2016 and was on the NFL All-Rookie Team.

Taylor Decker
Ohio State’s Taylor Decker poses for photos after being selected by the Detroit Lions as the 16th pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL football draft, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

2017 - Jarrad Davis - 21st pick - LB - Florida

Davis started with Detroit as the starting inside linebacker and had a good rookie season with 96 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and two sacks. He followed it up with 100 tackles and 6 sacks in 2018. He was placed on injured reserve just past halfway through the 2019 season, and played in 14 games last season, starting only four. He signed as a free agent with the New York Jets in March.

Jarrad Davis
FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2020, file photo, Detroit Lions middle linebacker Jarrad Davis plays against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit. The New York Jets and former Lions linebacker Davis have agreed on a one-year deal, according to a person with direct knowledge of the move. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

2018 - Frank Ragnow - 20th pick - C - Arkansas

Ragnow has been the team's starting center since he was drafted and was a second-team all-pro by the Associated Press last season.

Frank Ragnow, Matt Patricia, Bob Quinn
The Detroit Lions first-round NFL football draft pick Frank Ragnow, center, stands with head coach Matt Patricia, left, and general manager Bob Quinn at the team's training facility, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Allen Park, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

2019 - T.J. Hockenson - 8th pick - TE - Iowa

Hockenson had injury problems his first season, playing in 12 games. He caught 32 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns. He followed it up starting in every game last year with 67 catches for 723 yards and six touchdowns.

T.J. Hockenson, Bob Quinn
Detroit Lions first-round draft pick T.J. Hockenson, left, stands with team general manager Bob Quinn at the NFL football team's training facility, Friday, April 26, 2019, in Allen Park, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

2020 - Jeff Okudah - 3rd pick - CB - Ohio State

Okudah came out as one of the top cornerbacks in the draft, but suffered a hamstring injury in training camp and missed the team's opener. He played 9 games last season but had to undergo season-ending surgery for a core muscle injury.

Jeff Okudah
Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah covers a play against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)