Road to the Draft

Presented by

O'HARA: A history of who's been available at 3

The Detroit Lions are in good draft position with the third pick overall in the 2020 draft, but as general manger Bob Quinn said in his postseason press conference there is a lot to consider with having such a prime pick.

"Obviously with where we're drafting, we're going to have to pay attention to everybody," Quinn said.

"You would hope the guy would be an impact player at three."

Teams that drafted at No. 3 in the last 10 years have had mixed results. The Bucs got star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma in 2010, while the Browns took running back Trent Richardson of Alabama in 2012 and traded him to the Colts early in 2013.

There are no guarantees – including the four years when teams made trades involving the No. 3 pick, but it's a prime opportunity for the Lions to add a quality player.

Here's how teams fared with the No. 3 pick the last 10 years:

2019: DE Quinnen Williams, Alabama, Jets.

Status: Lot to prove.

Bottom line: Drafted off high potential as basically a one-year player at Alabama. Limited impact (2.5 sacks as a rookie) in nine starts out of 13 games.

Options: Edge rusher Josh Allen of Kentucky had 10.5 sacks for Jacksonville at No. 7, and DT Ed Oliver of Houston had five sacks and eight QB hits at No. 9 for Buffalo.

2018: QB Sam Darnold, Southern Cal, Jets.

Status: On the rise.

Traded up for pick from No. 6 with Colts.

Bottom line: Drafted to be the QB of the present and future by a team than won 14 games in the previous three seasons combined, Darnold showed steady improvement – from 17 TD passes, 15 interceptions and a 4-9 won-loss record as a rookie to a 19-13 split and 7-6 record in 2019.

Options: Josh Allen of Wyoming went to the Bills at No. 7.

2017: DT Solomon Thomas, Stanford, 49ers.

Status: Third year, D-line rotation.

Traded down for pick from No. 2 with Bears (who took QB Mitchell Trubisky).

Bottom line: A rotation player with three starts in 2019 on a super-strong D-line that has carried the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV. Thomas had 25 starts his first two years. He had three sacks in 2019 on a defense that had four D-linemen with at least 6.5 sacks.

Options: Moving down was a good leverage play and added extra picks for the 49ers. Judging the pick, Thomas was the only defensive lineman drafted in the top 10 in 2017. Pick No. 10 – Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. They'll meet in Super Bowl LIV.

2016: DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State, Chargers.

Status: Proven QB hunter.

Bottom line: Premier pass rusher when healthy – 40 sacks in 51 games, two Pro Bowls.

Options: Forget any. The two players drafted before Bosa and four after him all have made the Pro Bowl, but the Chargers got it right.

2015: OLB Dante Fowler, Florida, Jaguars.

Status: Better elsewhere

Bottom line: The Jags got little out of this pick. Fowler missed his rookie season with an injury and had 12 sacks the next two seasons with one start out of 32 games. Traded during the 2018 season to the Rams, where he blossomed in 2019 with 11.5 sacks.

Options: Vic Beasley of Florida to the Falcons at No. 8 was a clear winner. Beasley was the second pass rusher off the board. He's been healthy (78 of 80 games) and productive: 37.5 sacks and a league-high 15.5 in 2016.

2014: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida, Jaguars.

Status: Temporary QB fix.

Bottom line: Bortles was almost good at times, which isn't good enough. He played 78 of 80 games with 73 starts in five years with the Jags but never performed up to his draft position. A backup in 2019 with the Rams, where he completed two passes.

Options: A gold mine of talent behind Bortles made it easy pickings for teams not looking for a QB (or a tight end, in the case of the Lions). Of the 14 players drafted after Bortles, 12 have made the Pro Bowl. Johnny Manziel (22nd/Browns) and Teddy Bridgewater (32nd/Vikings) were the other first-round QBs.

View photos from the 2020 Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala.

2013: DE Dion Jordan, Oregon, Dolphins.

Status: Problems outweighed production.

Traded up for pick from No. 12 with Oakland, who took CB D.J. Hayden.

Bottom line: 26 games, one start, three sacks in his first two seasons with the Dolphins before a suspension for the 2015 season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. Did not play again until 2017-18 with Seattle and 2019 with the Raiders. He had a combined 8.5 sacks the last three years.

Options: Much better one two picks later -- powerful pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah to Detroit at No. 5. Despite frequent injuries he had 48 sacks in six seasons in Detroit and made the Pro Bowl in 2015 with 14.5.

2012: RB Trent Richardson, Alabama, Browns.

Status: One good year.

Traded up for pick from No. 4 with Vikings.

Bottom line: A 950-yard rookie season was Richardson's career highlight. He was traded early the next season to the Colts for a first-round draft pick. Richardson was out of the NFL after rushing for 977 yards in 29 games in 2013-14 combined for the Colts.

Options: The next pick was OT Matt Kalil – with the pick acquired from the Browns -- who made one Pro Bowl in five seasons with the Vikings and did not play after the 2017 season because of a knee injury. The next running back drafted was Doug Martin, drafted 31st overall, who rushed for more than 1,400 yards twice for the Bucs and was first team All Pro in 2015.

Browns' trade value: Trading Richardson combined with other deals gave the Browns two first-round picks in 2014, and both were flops – CB Justin Gilbert and QB Johnny Manziel.

2011: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama, Bills.

Status: Stud run stopper.

Bottom line: Dareus made two Pro Bowls and first team All Pro once in his first six seasons with the Bills. Less effective and injury prone since a trade to Jacksonville midway through 2017. He was still with the Jaguars in 2019, playing six games before going on injured reserve.

Options: Dareus was a good pick and gave the Bills what they expected of him, but better defenders were within easy reach – CB Patrick Peterson at 5, DE J.J. Watt at 11.

2010: DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma, Buccaneers.

Status: The real McCoy, franchise leader.

Bottom line: Taken one pick after the Lions drafted Ndamukong Suh, McCoy caught fire after missing 13 games his first two seasons because of injuries. McCoy made six straight Pro Bowls from 2012-17. Released by the Bucs in 2019, he signed with the Panthers and had five sacks – 2.5 of them in a game against former Bucs teammate Jameis Winston.

Options: Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Russell Okung and Joe Haden went off the board in that order after the Bucs took McCoy, but the Bucs should have no regrets. McCoy was the real McCoy – a franchise leader on and off the field.

Related Content

Advertising