Detroit Lions: 30 Best Draft Picks in Team History

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29.  Otto Graham (quarterback)  Yet another amazing quarterback in the “what could have been” category, Otto Graham never played a down for the Detroit Lions, but he was an official draft pick.  The Lions selected Graham with the fourth overall pick in the 1944 NFL draft.

Though originally chosen by Detroit, Graham signed a contract to play for Paul Brown and the Cleveland Browns of the AAFC.  The move paid great dividends for the Browns, and the Lions missed out on a Hall Of Fame career.

Graham went on to a dominant career as the Browns quarterback.  From 1946-1955, he (and the Browns) became four-time AAFC champions, and three-time NFL champions.  They reached the Championship game every year of Graham’s career.

Graham, himself, was twice MVP of the AAFC and three times MVP of the NFL. He was also a Pro Bowl selection every year from 1950-1954.

Graham passed for 174 touchdowns in his storied career and 23,584 yards.  His record as quarterback with the Browns was an incredible 114-20-4, and 9-3 in playoff games.  He was inducted into the Pro Football in 1955.

The game of football, and the quarterback position itself, has changed quite a bit since Graham’s playing days.  Many of his passing records have since been broken.

Even so, Graham still holds the record for highest yards per pass attempt (9), and highest winning percentage for an NFL starting quarterback.

Since Graham’s retirement (more than half a century ago), the Browns have had minimal playoff success.  Incidentally, the Detroit Lions have had even less.

Next: Number 28