Detroit Lions: 30 Best Draft Picks in Team History

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22.  Al Baker (defensive lineman) – A best draft picks list is only made better with a “Bubba”, and Al “Bubba” Baker made things much better for Lions fans (while making things much worse for opposing quarterbacks) during his time in Detroit.

The Lions selected Baker, out of Colorado State, with the 40th overall pick (2nd round) on the 1978 NFL draft.  Baker spent a short, but fantastic, five seasons with the Lions, before going on to play (and play well) for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Browns (twice), and Minnesota Vikings.

Baker was a man truly ahead of his time, because although the NFL didn’t start officially keeping track of quarterback sacks until 1982, Baker was very busy sacking quarterbacks in the NFL.

In his very first season with the Lions, Baker (unofficially) recorded 23 quarterback sacks (including 5 in one game).  He would unofficially record 16, 18, and 10 sacks respectively in the next three seasons with Detroit, before the NFL started to officially record sacks in 1982 (Baker’s final season with the Lions).

Baker was voted the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1978, and he was also a three-time Pro Bowl selection.  Even if Baker didn’t officially get credit for all his sacks, his impact on the game, and place among the Lions best draft picks is undeniable.

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