23. Jeff Backus (offensive tackle) – Dominic Raiola saw many changes to the often subpar offensive lines of the Detroit Lions, but he could count on Jeff Backus being nearby for most of his career. The fact that Backus lined up at left tackle, such a crucial position in protecting the health and longevity of quarterbacks, allows him to be place higher on this list of best draft picks than his interior lineman teammates.
The Lions selected Backus in the first round of the 2001 draft (18th overall), in the same year they drafted Raiola. Again, neither side looked back. He would go on to play his entire career in a Detroit Lions uniform, from 2001-2012.
Backus is another polarizing player among Lions fans. Many admired his steadiness and viewed him as an underrated and slightly under-appreciated player, while others felt his play was merely satisfactory as best.
One thing that cannot be denied, and adds to his value as a great draft pick, is the fact that Backus started, and played in an amazing 186 consecutive games in his Detroit Lions career.
That type of reliability and toughness, combined with the fact that Backus was a left tackle – a position of importance that can’t be overstated – cements him firmly on the best draft picks list.
Next: Number 22