The Lions are sitting in a good spot with the 10th pick in next month’s NFL draft.
No matter what position they decide to fill that is realistically on their radar – wide receiver, defensive back, linebacker, offensive or defensive line – a 10-year history shows that a future Pro Bowl player is guaranteed to be available at No. 10.
However, the guarantee comes with a catch. Call it a 'Catch-10.'
In this week’s Monday Countdown, a review of 10 drafts from 2003-2012 shows that a future Pro Bowl player still on the board at No. 10 wasn’t always drafted in that spot. It is too soon to make any judgment on the 2013 draft.
From 2003-2012, two players drafted at No. 10 have made the Pro Bowl – Terrell Suggs, taken by the Ravens in 2003, and Jerod Mayo, taken by the Patriots in 2008. In the other eight drafts, at least one Pro Bowl player was drafted within the next four picks, from 11-14.
There have been hits, misses and clear-cut draft blunders when teams obviously drafted the wrong player at No. 10.
One of the biggest hits at No. 10 was in 2003, when the Ravens drafted Suggs, a pass-rush star and potential Hall of Famer.
There were back-to-back misses with former Southern Cal stars in 2005-06. The Lions took wide receiver Mike Williams in ’05, and the Cardinals took quarterback Matt Leinart in ’06.
In many other years, it could be debated if the right player was drafted at No. 10 based on individual judgment.
Following is a review of the drafts from 2003-2012 to see how teams fared at No. 10, and whether they could have done better.
One ground rule is that comparisons are limited to picks 10-14 – a five-pick range -- in the first round.
That eliminates examples such as the 2000 draft, when the Patriots took Tom Brady in the sixth round at No. 199. A reasonable case could be made that all 32 teams, including the Patriots, made a mistake by leaving Brady on the board until late in the sixth round.
2003 No. 10: Terrell Suggs, Arizona State, Ravens: A knockout win for GM Ozzie Newsome, with a dominating pass rusher who has 94.5 career sacks and six Pro Bowl appearances.
Next 4: CB Marcus Trufant (1 Pro Bowl), DT Jimmy Kennedy and DE Ty Warren had long careers. DE Michael Haynes was out of football after three years.
2004 No. 10: CB Dunta Robinson, South Carolina, Texans. A low-impact starter in six seasons with the Texans, three with the Falcons and last season with the Chiefs.
Next 4: QB Ben Roethlisberger (2 Super Bowls), LB Jonathan Vilma (3 Pro Bowls), WR Lee Evans, DT Tommie Harris (3 Pro Bowls).
2005 No. 10: WR Mike Williams, Southern Cal, Lions. A bad pick on its merits – and a disaster considering what was left on the board.
Next 4: DE/LB DeMarcus Ware (7 Pro Bowls, 117 sacks), LB Shawne Merriman (3 Pro Bowls, injury shortened career), OT Jamaal Brown (2 Pro Bowls), LB Thomas Davis (8-year starter for Carolina, when healthy).
2006 No. 10: QB Matt Leinart, Southern Cal, Cardinals: A seismic flop -- limited athleticism and a scatter arm with 15 career TD passes and 21 interceptions.
Next 4: QB Jay Cutler (1 Pro Bowl), DT Haloti Ngata (5 Pro Bowls), DE Kamerion Wimbley (51.5 sacks), DT Brodrick Bunkley (8-year starter for Eagles, Saints).
2007 No; 10: DT Amobi Okoye, Louisville, Texans: A four-year starter for the Chiefs but out of football after two seasons with the Bears. The Texans could have done better. Much better.
Next 4: LB Patrick Willis (7 Pro Bowls), RB Marshawn Lynch (4 Pro Bowls), DE Adam Carriker (1 good season – with Washington in 2011), CB Darrelle Revis (5 Pro Bowls).
2008 No. 10: LB Jerod Mayo, Tennessee, Patriots: Defensive leader when healthy, 2 Pro Bowls.
Next 4: CB Leodis McKelvin (solid starter, dangerous return man), OT Ryan Clady (3 Pro Bowls), RB Jonathan Stewart (20 TDs first 2 seasons, not much since), OT Chris Williams (flipped between guard and tackled, flopped at both).
2009 No. 10: WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech, 49ers: Developed late but injured most of 2013. A sure-handed, productive receiver who fills a key slot.
Next 4: DE Aaron Maybin (out of football), RB Knowshon Moreno (healthy in 2013, 1,038 yards and 10 TDs), LB Brian Orakpo (39.5 sacks, 3 Pro Bowls), DB Malcolm Jenkins (5-year starter).
2010 No. 10: DT Tyson Alualu, Cal, Jaguars: 64 games, 64 starts at defensive tackle and end.
Next 4: OT Anthony Davis (4-year starter): RB Ryan Matthews (1 Pro Bowl, 2 1,000-yard seasons); DE Brandon Graham (12 starts in 4 years); S Earl Thomas (3 Pro Bowls, enforcer in Seahawks’ secondary).
2011 No. 10: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri, Jaguars: Traded this offseason to the 49ers after 3 weak seasons.
Next 4: DE J.J. Watt (2 Pro Bowls, 36.5 sacks), QB Christian Ponder (fighting to keep his job in 2013), DT
2012 No. 10: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, Bills: injured part of 2013.
Next 4: DT Dontari Poe (1 Pro Bowl), DT Fletcher Cox (starter at DT in 2012, DE in 2013), WR Michael Floyd (big target, 110 catches in 2 years) DT Michael Rockers (interior stud on a young, talented defensive line).