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2019 NFL Draft: Lions Will Pick No. 8, A Spot That's Been Kind In Recent Years

The No. 8 pick has been pretty friendly to NFL teams this decade.

December 30, 2018 - 7:20 pm
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GREEN BAY, Wisc. (97.1 The Ticket) -- The Lions entered Sunday's season finale at Lambeau Field with a slim chance of securing the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

A lot had to happen elsewhere around the league, but it was possible. Regardless, a loss would have secured the Lions a pick inside the top five.

But Detroit went out and trounced the Packers 31-0 for their first shutout since the 1996 season and their first in Green Bay in nearly 50 years -- complete with a Matt Prater touchdown pass on a fake field goal.

With a combination of other results around the league -- such as the Buccaneers and Giants letting wins slip away in the final minutes -- the Lions now own the No. 8 pick in April's draft in Nashville.

Some fans on social media have ridiculed the Lions for not laying an egg in an attempt to improve draft position, while others have lambasted those fans -- and media -- for saying the players should have intentionally lost the game. 

Whatever Lions fans may think, the reality is, Detroit has a pick inside the top-10 and, barring a trade, will be picking in the No. 8 slot -- a spot where a handful of good players have been selected in recent years.

Here's a look at players that were selected eighth overall this decade:

  • 2018: Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith (Chicago Bears) -- 85 tackles, 5 sacks and an interception through 15 games as a rookie
  • 2017: Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers) -- 1,515 rush yards, 9 TDs in two seasons
  • 2016: Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin (Tennessee Titans) -- 41 regular season starts (of 48 possible), 2 playoff starts; 2016 All-Pro selection
  • 2015: Clemson linebacker Vic Beasley (Atlanta Falcons) -- 29.5 career sacks; 2016 All-Pro selection
  • 2014: Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert (Cleveland Browns) -- 25 tackles, 1 pick-six as a rookie; Suspended for substance abuse violation in 2017
  • 2013: West Virginia wider receiver Tavon Austin (St. Louis Rams) -- 14 career TDs; 2013 All-Rookie Team
  • 2012: Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins) -- 20,000+ passing yards, 123 TDs in 6 seasons as Dolphins starter
  • 2011: Washington quarterback Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans) -- Titans starter for three seasons; Retired in 2015
  • 2010: Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain (Oakland Raiders) -- 9.5 career sacks in five seasons; 2010 All-Rookie Team

While a couple players on this list flamed out early, the majority of those draft picks turned out to be pretty good players or are looking like they will be -- especially McCaffrey and Roquan Smith.

The odds of finding a Pro Bowler or franchise players at No. 8 aren't as high as a team with a top-five pick, sure, but looking at recent history, the Lions have every opportunity to find a solid player in the first round of next year's draft.

Now it's just a matter of the Lions deciding what direction they want to go with their pick come April.