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Detroit Lions have NFL draft history of busts when picking at No. 7

The Detroit Lions are on the clock. Well … they’re six picks away from being on the clock, with the No. 7 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, which begins Thursday in Cleveland.

It’s the franchise’s third straight year drafting in the top 10, after a run of four years drafting in the 11-20 range. While it’s too soon to tell how those picks — T.J. Hockenson at No. 8 in 2019 and Jeff Okudah at No. 3 in 2020 — will work out in the long term, we have 54 drafts to parse since the AFL and NFL merged their draft in 1967. With that in mind, let’s look back at the good and the bad from the Lions at No. 7 (though you can probably guess where the Lions slot in, more often than not).

The Lions

Let’s start in Detroit, where the Lions have selected No. 7 overall four times since the AFL/NFL merger, but not since 2004, when then-general manager Matt Millen made the pick of …

2004: WR Roy Williams

Roy Williams.

The buzz: Williams was a star for four seasons at Texas, racking up 241 catches for 3,866 yards and 36 TDs in 48 games with the Longhorns en route to a ranking as the No. 2 wideout on most draft boards. (Williams’ speed made him No. 1 on some boards, but the consensus No. 1 was Pitt’s Larry Fitzgerald.) Williams wasn’t nearly as successful right away with the Lions; he hauled in 99 of his 212 targets for 1,504 yards and 16 TDs in his first two seasons, though that was with Joey Harrington throwing to him.


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