How did the Detroit Lions get so bad?
While it is an old bit here in Detroit to complain about former Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen, there are a few numbers that shows exactly how bad he truly was. He will of course go down in history as the architect of the first ever NFL team to go 0-16 and only the second NFL team to complete a season win less, but Millen’s worst flaw was his inability to find quality players via the draft.
On Thursday the Lions cut CB Kevin Smith 2004 third round draft pick. While that is not really big news he does become an important fact in Lions team lore. From 2002 to 2006 Millen made 39 draft picks for the Detroit Lions. With the departure of Smith only one of those players remains on the Lions roster LB Ernie Simms a first round draft pick in 2006. That simply is not good enough and it is why it will take years for the Lions to dig themselves out of this hole.
There are so many wasted draft picks in that duration that it is very hard to rank the worst, but the 2005 first round (10th overall) pick of USC WR Mike Williams, 2003 first round (2nd overall) pick of MSU WR Charles Rogers, and the 2004 second round (37th overall) pick of Oklahoma LB Teddy Lehman rank among the worst. None of these players currently play in the NFL just a few years after being high Millen draft picks.